Corruption and weak institutions sustain impunity in journalists’ murders – report

International press freedom organisation Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has listed corruption, weak institutions and a lack of political will to pursue robust investigations as three factors resulting in impunity for the murders of journalists around the world.

In its latest report entitled ‘Getting Away with Murder‘, the organisation spotlights countries where “journalists are slain and their killers go free” in a Global Impunity Index of 12 countries, which includes nations where there are five or more unresolved cases of journalists who have been killed.

The four worst countries listed in the index are Somalia, Syria, Iraq and South Sudan, but also includes countries which are supposedly more democratic such as Brazil and India.

The number of murders in 2020 has slightly exceeded those in 2019, according to the report.

CPJ also highlights the situation in European countries, noting that there have yet to be convictions in the case of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and the murder of Jan Kuciak and his fiancee in Slovakia.

“Kuciak was one of two journalists reporting on corruption in the European Union who were murdered in a six-month period; the other is Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, in whose 2017 case no one has been convicted,” CPJ noted.

In CPJ’s 2019 report a year ago, the organisation had already noted the lack of convictions in the case, weeks prior to the arrest of suspected mastermind Yorgen Fenech. One year later, a trial has still not commenced.

During the 10-year index period ending August 31, 2020, 277 journalists were murdered for their work worldwide. In 83% of those cases no perpetrators have been successfully prosecuted, the report said.

CPJ specifically defines murder as a deliberate killing of a journalist in retaliation for the victim’s work.

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