Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Still getting away with the murder of journalists

Iraq is the country with the worst record for journalists being murdered and their killers never brought to justice, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists' newly updated Impunity Index.

It says none of the 92 journalist murders recorded in Iraq in the past decade has been solved, and, after a brief decline in targeted killings, journalist murders spiked in 2010.

The index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population, found improvement in Russia as journalist murders ebbed and prosecutors obtained two high-profile convictions. No journalists were murdered in reprisal for their work in 2010, the first year since 1999 that no targeted media killings were reported in Russia.

But deadly anti-press violence continued to climb in Mexico, where authorities appear powerless in bringing killers to justice. Mexico’s impunity rating worsened for the third consecutive year. At least 13 journalist murders have gone unsolved in the past decade amid widespread corruption in local government and law enforcement.

CPJ executive director Joel Simon said:“The findings of the 2011 Impunity Index lay bare the stark choices that governments face: Either address the issue of violence against journalists head-on or see murders continue and self-censorship spread.

“Convictions in Russia are a hopeful sign after years of indifference and denial. But Mexico’s situation is deeply troubling, with violence spiking as the government promises action but fails to deliver.”

The index also found:
  • Local journalists are the victims in the vast majority of unsolved cases worldwide.
  • Only about 6 percent of unsolved cases on the index involve international journalists slain while working abroad.
  • Prior threats against a journalist are powerful indicators of violence to come.
  • More than 40 percent of the victims in the index had received threats prior to being killed.
  • In countries with weak law enforcement, political reporting is the most dangerous beat.
  • Impunity is severe across South Asia. Six of the region’s nations—Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India—are on the 2011 index.

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