Getting Away With Murder: CPJ’s 2013 Impunity Index

from Committee to Protect Journalists
Published on 02 May 2013 View Original

CPJ’s 2013 Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free


Rocked by militants in the north and politically inspired aggression nationwide, Nigeria has become one of the worst nations in the world for deadly, unpunished violence against the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated Impunity Index. The global index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country's population, also found soaring impunity rates in Somalia, Pakistan, and Brazil.

“Investigations into these killings are usually carried out with sloppiness, and no real culprits are caught,” said Ayode Longe, a senior officer with the Media Rights Agenda, a press freedom group in Nigeria, where at least five journalists have been murdered in direct relation to their work since 2009. None of the cases has been solved. “That has emboldened others to assault journalists, believing nothing would be done to them,” Longe said. Nigeria, which had previously experienced a decade of relative security for journalists, joined the index for the first time this year, ranked as the 11th worst in the world in combating deadly anti-press crime.

CPJ's analysis found improving conditions in Nepal, which dropped off the index entirely, and in Russia, which has had one of the world’s most deeply entrenched cultures of impunity. Although both nations remain dangerous for the press, both have seen a general decline in deadly anti-press violence and a handful of partly successful prosecutions in journalist murders.

The Impunity Index, published annually, identifies countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. The 2013 index examines journalist murders that occurred from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2012, and remain unsolved. Only nations with five or more unsolved cases are listed. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been won. There are 12 countries on the index this year.