Global Impunity Index by CPJ released

Afghan residents light candles to pay tribute to Afghan journalists killed in Monday's suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, May 3, 2018. Two Islamic State suicide bombers struck in Afghanistan's capital on Monday, killing 25 people, including nine journalists who had rushed to the scene of the first attack, in the deadliest assault on reporters since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

A lack of justice in the murders of journalists creates an entrenched climate of censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in its Global Impunity Index released today. The eleventh annual report highlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free.

The report “Getting Away with Murder: CPJ’s 2018 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free” is available on CPJ’s website.

All 14 of the countries featured this year have appeared multiple times on the index since CPJ began collecting data in 2008, and half have appeared every year. In the past decade, at least 324 journalists have been silenced through murder worldwide and in 85 percent of these cases no perpetrators have been convicted.

“The fact that impunity continues to thrive in many of these countries year after year is a disturbing sign of how deeply rooted the problem is. Impunity is an effective way to silence journalists and creates a void of information,” said Elisabeth Witchel, author of the report and CPJ’s consultant for the Global Campaign Against Impunity.

“Governments must treat these cases as a priority and provide appropriate mechanisms to achieve justice for these journalists and their families.”

For the fourth year in a row, Somalia tops the list. Countries returning to the 2018 index after an absence include Afghanistan, where a suicide attacker targeted a group of journalists earlier this year, killing nine, and Colombia, where alleged drug traffickers kidnapped an Ecuadoran news crew and murdered them in Colombian territory.

The Impunity Index is released annually to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on November 2. CPJ calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. For this index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between September 1, 2008, and August 31, 2018. Find more information in the report methodology.

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* - References to Kosovo are without prejudice to positions on status. They are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.