Subject: Press group urges justice for 1975 murders

Last Update: Tuesday, May 30, 2006. 11:27pm (AEST)

Press group urges justice for 1975 murders

The International Press Institute (IPI) has called for the killers of the five Australian-based journalists, murdered in East Timor in 1975, to be brought to justice finally.

The network of press chiefs urged Australia, East Timor, Indonesia, Britain and the United Nations "to undertake all necessary measures" to reel in the murderers, it said in a resolution passed at a meeting in Edinburgh.

The journalists died in the town of Balibo in October 1975 when the Indonesian army attacked the Fretilin forces, which were in control of East Timor at the time, the IPI said.

"Despite numerous attempts by relatives and concerned organisations to discover the truth, all such attempts have been blocked by an absence of political will, inconclusive investigations lacking access to witnesses and forensic evidence, and delaying tactics by the authorities," it said.

The dead journalists were Gary Cunningham, Greg Shackleton and Tony Stewart of the Channel Seven network, and Brian Peters and Malcolm Rennie of the Channel Nine network.

"In a period where journalists are targeted for practicing their profession, the IPI membership feels it is essential for the international community to ensure that the perpetrators of such murders do not act with impunity.

"Failure to prosecute increases the risk of the murder of other journalists and self-censorship to the detriment of societies everywhere," the IPI said.

In the latest media casualties of conflict, two British members of a US news crew were killed in a car-bomb attack in Baghdad on Monday that also left a US reporter critically injured.


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