Journalists killed with impunity as world watches, says CPJ report
WASHINGTON: In the past 10 years, 370 journalists have been murdered around the world and governments have failed to take meaningful action to protect them, says a report by the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Elisabeth Witchel, lead author of the report, warns that “the unchecked, unsolved murders of journalists who seek to inform their societies and the world is one of the greatest threats to press freedom today”.
On Nov 2, the United Nation is observing the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
Also read: 70 journalists killed in 2013
“It isn’t just one story that ends with a journalist’s death; a climate of intimidation builds,” the reports adds. “If no one is punished, killers are emboldened, and violence repeats.
Journalists have no choice but to censor themselves or even flee into exile.”
The report points out that targeted attacks on the media have kept the world from understanding the full dimension of violence in Syria, drug trafficking in Mexico, militant influence in Pakistan and corruption in Russia.
The United Nations has adopted resolutions addressing impunity and journalists’ safety and launched a plan of action. Pakistan and Nepal are among the first to implement this plan, which has “utterly failed in Iraq”.
Another tool gaining small ground in the fight against impunity is the network of regional courts, “but their judgments are often flouted”.
The CPJ research shows that in 88 per cent of cases of journalist slayings around the world, the masterminds behind the murders face no consequences, even when their accomplices are apprehended.
The vast majority of those killed in the last 10 years were local journalists reporting on corruption, crime, human rights, politics, or war. In 90pc of cases there is total impunity — no convictions of any perpetrator.
The report looks closely at climates in which CPJ has recorded the highest rates of anti-press violence and impunity, such as in Iraq, Somalia, the Philippines, Mexico, and Russia, as well as countries where journalists have been targeted in disturbing numbers, like Syria.
It also highlights countries that are starting to show improvements — Colombia and Brazil, for example — and the challenges they continue to face.
Based on its findings, CPJ is urging national governments and political leaders to “condemn publicly and unequivocally all acts of violence against journalists”.
It also urged all United Nations entities and regional intergovernmental bodies to take concrete steps to hold member states accountable to their commitments to combat impunity.
The report also names the journalists killed in the last 10 years. The list from Pakistan includes: Sajid Tanoli, Shumal, January 29, 2004; Allah Noor, Khyber TV, February 7, 2005; Amir Nawab, Associated Press Television News and Frontier Post, February 7, 2005; Hayatullah Khan, freelance, June 16, 2006; Zubair Ahmed Mujahid, Jang, November 23, 2007; Chishti Mujahid, Akhbar-i-Jehan, February 9, 2008; Mohammed Ibrahim, Express TV and Daily Express, May 22, 2008; Abdul Razzak Johra, Royal TV, November 3, 2008; Musa Khankhel, Geo TV and The News, February 18, 2009; Janullah Hashimzada, freelance, August 24, 2009; Ghulam Rasool Birhamani, Daily Sindhu Hyderabad, May 9 or 10, 2010; Misri Khan, Ausaf and Mashriq, September 14, 2010; Nasrullah Khan Afridi, Pakistan Television and Mashriq, May 10, 2011; Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times Online, May 29 or 30, 2011; Faisal Qureshi, The London Post, October 7, 2011; Javed Naseer Rind, Daily Tawar, November 2011; Mukarram Khan Aatif, freelance, January 17, 2012; Razzaq Gul, Express News TV, May 19, 2012; Abdul Qadir Hajizai, WASH TV, May 28, 2012; Abdul Haq Baloch, ARY Television, September 29, 2012; Rehmatullah Abid, Dunya News TV, Intikhaab, November 18, 2012; Ayub Khattak, Karak Times, October 11, 2013.