October 08, 2015
NEW YORK: The ambush of a convoy in South Sudan and the hacking deaths of bloggers in Bangladesh propelled the two nations onto the Committee to Protect Journalists' Global Impunity Index of countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go unpunished.
According to the report released today, "Getting Away With Murder," the worst offender is Somalia, which edges Iraq out of that spot for the first time since CPJ began compiling the index in 2008. One or more journalists have been murdered in Somalia every year over the past decade, and the government has proved unable or unwilling to investigate.
In Iraq, meanwhile, targeted killings have ebbed since the Iraq War. More recently, Islamic State has abducted and killed at least two journalists, but violence and fierce control of information have made it impossible for CPJ to accurately document additional cases.
Only Colombia has shown enough convictions in journalist murders and decrease in violence to exit the list since 2014.
"Despite calls by the United Nations for states to take greater steps to protect journalists in situations of armed conflict and to ensure accountability for crimes against the press, little progress has been made in combatting impunity worldwide," said Elisabeth Witchel, author of the report and CPJ's consultant on the Global Campaign Against Impunity.
"More than half of the countries on the index are democracies with functioning law enforcement and judicial institutions, but killers still go free. The international community must continue to put pressure on these governments to live up to their commitments."
In the past decade, 270 journalists have been murdered, CPJ research shows. Of those, 96 percent are local reporters. In only two percent of cases are the masterminds ever prosecuted.
For the 2015 International Day to End Impunity, CPJ will be participating in UNESCO's Ending Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists Commemoration Conference in San José, Costa Rica, on October 9, 2015 and Stop the killing of journalists! Prevention and justice to end impunity in London on November 2.
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