Senegal: CPJ says Somalia tops countries where journalists are murdered, killers go free

Dakar, Senegal (PANA - The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Monday said Somalia topped the list of countries where journalists get murdered and their killers go unpunished.

In a statement made available to PANA here, CPJ disclosed that going by its new report entitled 'Getting Away With Murder', Somalia was named worst offender, edging Iraq out of that spot for the first time since the press freedom watchdog started compiling the Global Impunity 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,'' CPJ noted.

It pointed out that in Iraq, meanwhile, targeted killings have ebbed since the Iraq War.

The ambush of a convoy in South Sudan and the hacking deaths of bloggers in Bangladesh propelled the two nations onto the CPJ's Global Impunity Index of countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go unpunished.

More recently, the report said, 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.

The press freedom body noted that only Colombia had 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 combating impunity worldwide," remarked 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," Witchel added.

According to CPJ, in the past decade, 270 journalists have been murdered and of those, 96 percent were local reporters and in only two percent of cases were the masterminds ever prosecuted.

Meanwhile, CPJ revealed that for the 2015 International Day to End Impunity, it has participated in ''Stop the killing of journalists! Prevention and justice to end impunity'' campaign held in London on Monday and UNESCO's  Ending Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists Commemoration Conference held in San José, Costa Rica, in October.
-0- PANA MLJ/AR 2Nov2015

02 november 2015 13:42:00

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