Iraq is worst country for unsolved journalist murders

Iraq has the world’s highest worst rate of unsolved murders of journalists for the fifth year running, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

According to the CPJ’s annual Impunity Index the murders of 93 journalists over the past decade remain unsolved in the war-torn country.

The index, which takes into account size of population, ranks Somalia second for the third year in a row with 11 deaths without convictions.

A further 68 journalists are said to have fled the country over the past ten years due to unchecked violence against the media.

The Philippines and Sri Lanka remain at third and fourth place in the table respectively with virtually no progress in combating anti-press violence, while unsolved murders have risen sharply in Pakistan (19) and Mexico (15) over the past decade.

Pakistan’s rating has deteriorated for the fourth year running and Mexico for the third consecutive year.

The CPJ claimed this resulted in self-censorship within the press – even among those who use pseudonyms to report on social media, citing the example of Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro.

The decapitated body of the Mexican journalist, who used social media to report on the country’s drug wars, was discovered in September 2011.

CPJ executive director Joel Simon said: ‘The index is a call for governments to ensure that reporting on sensitive topics does not become a death sentence.

‘Justice and protecting journalists need to be priorities for countries committed to accountability and the rule of law.”

The index showed improving conditions in Columbia, while Nepal and Bangladesh dropped off the list after a long-term decline with no press deaths in seven years.

Below are the 12 countries where at least five journalists have been murdered and governments have failed to convict a single perpetrator. The index calculates the rate of unsolved murders as a percentage of the population for the years 2002-2011.

(Country, number of unsolved cases, rating)

  • Iraq: 93; 2.906
  • Somalia: 11; 1.183
  • Philippines: 55; 0.589
  • Sri Lanka: 9; 0.431
  • Colombia: 8; 0.173
  • Nepal: 5; 0.167
  • Afghanistan: 5; 0.145
  • Mexico: 15; 0.132
  • Russia: 16; 0.113
  • Pakistan: 19; 0.109
  • Brazil: 5; 0.026
  • India: 6; 0.005

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