What is impunity?

im•pu•ni•ty \ im-'pyü-n -te \
n. without punishment, without consequences

What is impunity?
When someone acts with impunity, it means that their actions have no consequences. Intimidation, threats, attacks and murders go unpunished.

In the past 10 years, more than 500 journalists have been killed. Murder is the ultimate form of censorship, and media are undoubtedly on the frontlines of free expression. When journalists have been murdered, in 9 out of 10 cases the murderers have gone free.

Countless other citizens, artists, bloggers, musicians and journalists have been harassed, threatened, tortured, intimidated, jailed and worse for exercising their basic human right to express themselves. Most crimes against free expression go unpunished.

What we are dealing with is a culture of impunity.

What do we mean by “a culture of impunity?”
A culture of impunity exists when those who deny others their right to freedom of expression do so knowing it is unlikely they will be held accountable for their actions.

A culture of impunity creates a climate of insecurity for those practising their right to freedom of expression. This leads to a world where people are afraid to speak out. Where criticism is stifled. Where the hard questions don't get asked. Where the powerful don't get challenged. The result is a world where free expression is silenced.

View our infographic below to see some of the factors that feed and sustain a culture of impunity, and their impact on individuals and societies. Click here to download a pdf.