NEW YORK - A Paris-based organisation that promotes and defends Press freedom has highlighted 10 emblematic cases of impunity, which includes the murdered Pakistani reporter, Syed Saleem Shahzad, to mark the first-ever International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

“The aim is to involve the general public and step up pressure on governments to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement on Sunday.

The day was proclaimed in a resolution on the safety of journalists adopted by the UN General Assembly this past year, with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) designated to lead its implementation.

The date Nov 2, marks the assassination of two journalists – Gislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon – in Mali in 2013.

Reporters Without Borders said it has chosen these 10 cases to put names and faces to the tragic statistics and to show the scale and different forms that impunity can take. The resources deployed by authorities to solve these and many other cases have been either non-existent or hopelessly inadequate.

More than 90 per cent of crimes against journalists are never solved and ,therefore, never punished, it said.

Some of the victims disappeared, such as Mexican crime reporter María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe, Abidjan-based French journalist Guy-André Kieffer, Iranian newspaper Editor Pirouz Davani and Sri Lankan political analyst and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda. Some were murdered such as Shahzad of Pakistan, the young Serbian journalist Dada Vujasinovic, the Beirut-based columnist Samir Kassir and the Dagestani journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, who was gunned down in 2013. Dawit Isaak, a journalist with Swedish and Eritrean dual nationality, has been held incommunicado in Eritrean President Issayas Aferworki’s prison camps for the past 13 years, while police officers tortured Bahraini reporter Nazeeha Saeed for covering pro-democracy demonstrations.

“We must never abandon journalists who are the victims of crimes, not even posthumously,” Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said. “The 10 impunity cases we are presenting are shocking examples of incompetence or wilful inaction by officials who should be punishing despicable crimes against those who have tried to describe reality as it is.

“Such a level of impunity just encourages those who commit these abuses. International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is an occasion for paying tribute to the victims, reminding governments of their obligation to protect journalists and combat impunity, and reminding those who target journalists that one day they will be held to account for their actions.”

Whether killed execution-style, blown-up by a bomb, tortured to death or disappeared, these journalists paid the price for their commitment to freedom of information, Reporters Without Borders said.  They were targeted for investigating corruption or drug trafficking, for criticising the government or intelligence agencies or for drawing attention to human rights violations. Some of the cases have become emblematic, others are less well known.

The organisation said those responsible were many and varied, and include governments, armed groups and hit-men. RWB blames the shortcomings of police and justice systems for the failures to solve these cases or to convict the perpetrators and instigators.

Around 800 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in the past decade, according to Reporters Without Borders. The deadliest year was 2012, with 88 were journalists killed. The number of killed fell slightly in 2013 but the figures for physical attacks and threats against journalists continued to rise.

At total of 56 journalists have been killed since the start of 2014.