Crimes against journalists remain largely unpunished worldwide

·2-min read

Over 30 journalists and media collaborators have been murdered since the onset of 2020, according to provisional figures published by Reporters Without Borders. While the number of journalists killed in reprisal for their work is lower than at this in 2019, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) underlines how killers tend to get away with murdering reporters in over a dozen countries worldwide.

To mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, this November 2, CPJ has published the latest edition of its Global Impunity Index. This yearly report pinpoints the countries where journalists and media collaborators are being killed in reprisal for their work while these crimes remain unpunished.

The Impunity Index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country's population from September 1, 2010 to August 31, 2020. During this time period, about 280 journalists were deliberately killed while working worldwide. In 83% of those cases, no alleged perpetrator has been successfully prosecuted.

The country where this phenomenon is most alarming is Somalia, where 26 journalists have been murdered in the past ten years in total impunity. Among them, the report mentions Yusuf Ahmed Abukar, a 27-year-old radio reporter whose car was bombed on June 21, 2004, in Hamarweyne (South/East). 

Syria and Iraq rank second and third in CPJ's Index, where 22 and 23 journalists were killed during the past decade.

Many Asian countries appear in the Impunity Index, notably Pakistan (9th position), Bangladesh (10th) and India (12th). Pakistani justice grabbed the headlines last April, when Omar Sheikh's death sentence for kidnapping American journalist Daniel Pearl before his assassination in 2002, was reduced to seven years in jail. The Sindh High Court also overturned the murder convictions of three other men accused in the 2002 killing of the Wall Street Journal reporter.

"Despite a decreasing number of journalist killings, impunity for their murders persists, including in countries that are viewed as more stable and democratic," said CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch. "Leaders around the world owe it to the families and colleagues of victims to pursue justice swiftly, to take action on long-standing cases, and to ensure that killers are not set free by legal loopholes," added the director in a press release.

Here are the 12 countries of the CPJ Global Impunity Index : 

1 - Somalia

2 - Syria

3 - Iraq

4 – South Sudan

5 - Afghanistan

6 - Mexico

7 - Philippines

8 - Brazil

9 - Pakistan 

10 - Bangladesh 

11 - Russia

12 – India