A Memorial for reporters - Unveiling of the 2008 monument
Friday 5 June 2009 at 1.45pm
at the Journalists’ Memorial at Bayeux (Calvados, Normandy) - Boulevard Fabian Ware – access from rue de Verdun
59 journalists were killed in 2008. Their names are engraved in the stone forever in Bayeux, at the Journalists' Memorial.
Patrick GOMONT, the Mayor of Bayeux and Jean-François JULLIARD, Reporters without Borders’ secretary-general will unveil the 2008 monument at the Journalists’ Memorial in the presence of:
Déo Namujimbo, brother of Didace Namujimbo, a journalist from the Democratic Republic of Congo who was assassinated on 21st November 2008.
Roza Malsagova, editor-in-chief of the website www.ingushetiya.ru and colleague of Magomed Yevloyev, the website’s creator, who was assassinated in Russia on 31st August 2008.
2008 saw a drop in the number of media professionals killed or arrested: Reporters without Borders counted 59 journalists killed during the year compared to 87 in 2007. The figures are clearly lower, but sadly this does not correlate with an improvement in the worldwide freedom of the press. Instead, the reduction dangerously conceals extensive intimidation and censorship, including in the Occident, and even tougher measures by the most authoritarian governments.
The apparent improvements indicated by some of the quantitative data can in fact, in some cases, be explained by an overall reduction in the number of journalists able to work, forced instead to take exile or to abandon their profession. In this context, to say that some 60 assassinations, hundreds of arrests and widespread censorship are reasons to feel optimistic would be wrong.
Didace Namujimbo was killed by a bullet to the head on 21st November 2008 when he was returning to his home in Bukavu. He was 34 years old and leaves behind a widow and 2 orphaned children.
Didace Namujimbo is the second journalist from Radio Okapi to be killed in Bukavu. On 13th June 2007, Serge Maheshe, editorial secretary for the radio station supported by the Fondation Hirondelle and the United Nations, was killed outside his home by armed men.
Magomed Yevloyev, a Russian citizen, was the owner of the information website www.ingushetiya.ru which provides information on the security situation in one of the Russian Republics in the Caucuses region, Ingushetia. For security reasons, he lived in Moscow. He died whilst being held by the Ingush authorities.
On 31st August 2008 he was arrested by officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs as he left the aeroplane having flown into the airport in Nazran (Ingushetia’s capital). The Russian Prosecutor’s Office declared that his death, caused by a bullet to the head, was accidental.
Magomed Yevloyev and the site he created were particularly critical of the small Republic of Ingushetia’s former president, Murat Zyazikov. He regularly criticized the corruption of local authorities and questioned the Kremlin’s policies in the Caucuses.
Roza Malsagova, the Editor-in-Chief of the site www.ingushetiya.ru requested asylum in France in early August 2008. The site is blocked in Ingushetia and the authorities have called for her arrest.
2035 names are now engraved in stone on the monuments at the Journalists' Memorial.
This Memorial, the only one of its kind in Europe, pays homage to journalists that have been killed whilst carrying out their profession since 1944 in order that their names will never be forgotten.
Alongside the ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, Bayeux, the first town in France to be liberated from Nazi occupation, is also paying homage to all those soldiers, civilians and journalists who, yesterday and today, paid the price of freedom with their lives.