Murdering The Messengers: Killers of Journalists Continue To Evade Justice Worldwide

journalists are being murdered in retaliation for their work with near total impunity
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New York, November 1, 2022 – In the decade since the United Nations (UN) launched a Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, 80% of the 263 journalists killed have been murdered with impunity, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 2022 Global Impunity Index, published today. The annual index is a striking reminder of the need for urgent interventions on behalf of journalists globally. An early collaborator on the UN plan, CPJ renews its calls for action by governments to prioritize journalist safety.

“We’ve seen a dramatic rise in the abusive tactics used to silence journalists, from spyware technology to spurious legal charges,” said Jodie Ginsberg, CPJ’s President. “On top of these mounting threats, journalists are being murdered in retaliation for their work with near total impunity. This lack of justice empowers perpetrators to continue silencing the press.”

Myanmar is included on the index for the first time this year, highlighting the country’s press freedom crisis one year after it joined the ranks of the world’s worst jailers of journalists. Since the February 2021 coup, Myanmar’s military junta has used overreaching anti-state and false news laws to suppress independent reporting and to jail journalists in record numbers.

For the eighth year running, Somalia remains the worst offender on the index. Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, respectively, make up the rest of the top five countries on the list, as political instability, conflict, and weak rule of law impede accountability for attacks on journalists.

Authoritarian rule and conflict are not the only contributors to rampant impunity. Democratically elected governments in countries like Mexico and Brazil continue to antagonize the press even as violence against journalists soars, in defiance of ineffective national protection mechanisms. With 28 unresolved murders in Mexico in the past 10 years, the most of any nation on the index, there remains little political will to seek justice.

“The UN Plan of Action provides a blueprint but, ultimately, national governments are the ones who must deliver on protection and justice. We need to see thorough, independent investigations to stem violence against journalists – and political and economic consequences for those who fail to carry out such investigations,” said Ginsberg.

CPJ’s Global Impunity Index calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of a population. The 2022 index examines journalist murders that occured between September 1, 2012, and August 31, 2022 and remain unsolved. Only countries with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index.

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