No one caught for 81% of journalists' murders across the world, states Global Impunity Index
India with 20 unsolved murders of mediapersons is ranked 12th in the Committee to Protect Journalists' Global Impunity Index
The annual Global Impunity Index published on Thursday, October 28, has found that no one has been held accountable for 81% of journalists’ murders over the last 10 years. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which publishes the index, has stated that 278 journalists were killed across the world between September 1, 2011, and August 31, 2021.
The CPJ report highlighted that 226 murders either remain unsolved and most of the perpetrators were roaming free. The CPJ, which is a nonprofit organisation that promotes press freedom worldwide, underscored that the journalists were killed in a nexus of corruption, organised crime, extremist groups, and government retaliation.
The Index revealed that for the seventh year Somalia remained the worst country for impunity in journalist killings. This was followed by Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan. Illustrating the sustained lack of accountability, seven of the countries on the list have appeared every year,” a CPJ press release said.
India is ranked 12th in the Index, with 20 unsolved murders recorded. India’s South Asian neighbours Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh are on the list too and are ranked worse than India. Bangladesh improved one spot in the index this year, to 11th, due to convictions in February in the 2015 murders of secular blogger Avijit Roy and his publisher, Faisal Arefin Dipan. Several members of the banned militant group Ansar al-Islam were sentenced to death for their roles in the killings.
The Index, the CPJ noted, doesn’t fully reflect the threats to media freedom. “For example, Afghanistan’s spot on the Index did not change, yet its vibrant media landscape has been decimated since the Taliban took control of the country during the US withdrawal. As Afghanistan’s judicial system collapses, the prospect of justice for the 17 journalists killed in the last 10 years moves further out of reach,” the press release notes.
In addition, Taliban leaders appear even less likely than Afghanistan’s previous government to respond to local and international calls to end the country’s culture of impunity for crimes against journalists.
Mexico holds the sixth spot on the index for the second straight year. Despite key convictions in the murders of journalists Javier Valdez Cárdenas and Miroslava Breach Velducea in 2020 and 2021, the media continue to be targeted at an alarming rate. As of August 31, CPJ research found that at least three journalists were murdered in Mexico for their work with complete impunity in 2021; four suffered that fate in 2020, second only to the number murdered in Afghanistan.