Thu, Apr 22, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Tough year for journalists

AFP , WASHINGTON

Relatives of journalists killed in the Maguindanao massacre speak to media in Manila, the Philippines, yesterday.

PHOTO: EPA

Unpunished violence against journalists has soared in the Philippines and Somalia while Iraq has the worst record of solving murders of reporters, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CJP) said.

The New York-based media rights group published its 2010 Impunity Index on Tuesday, a list of a dozen countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes.

The CPJ’s Impunity Index “calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of a country’s population” for the years 2000 through last year and ranks them accordingly.

Twelve countries made the list with five or more unsolved cases.

Iraq was No. 1 with 88 unsolved journalist murders, or 2.794 per 1 million inhabitants.

Somalia, with nine unsolved murders, was next, with 1 unsolved murder per million inhabitants.

The Philippines, with 55 unsolved cases, was next followed by Sri Lanka with 10, Colombia with 13, Afghanistan with seven, Nepal with six, Russia with 18, Mexico with nine, Pakistan with 12, Bangladesh with seven and India with seven.

The CPJ said the Philippines jumped to third on the list from sixth the previous year notably because of the massacre of more than 30 journalists in Maguindanao province last year.

The group said Brazil and Colombia, meanwhile, “made marked improvement in curbing deadly violence against journalists and bringing killers to justice.”

“Recent convictions in Brazil, in fact, moved the country off the index entirely,” the CPJ said.

“We’ve heard repeated pledges from governments that the killers of journalists will face justice, but until these promises are fulfilled, media will continue to be targeted by those who believe they are above the law and immune from consequences,” CPJ executive director Joel Simon said.

“Our goal in compiling this index is to spur leaders in these nations to action,” Simon said. “Many of these cases are solvable — the perpetrators have been identified but authorities lack the political will to prosecute.”

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