Sources directory of experts and spokespersonsMedia Names & Numbers Canadian media directoryParliamentary Names & Numbers Canadian government directorySources Hotlink media relations newsletter


Media Releases from members of Sources.
To submit a news release, use this form.

Getting Away With Murder 2009

March 23, 2009

CPJ′s Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and killers go free

New York, March 23, 2009 -- The already murderous conditions for the press in Sri Lanka and Pakistan deteriorated further in the past year, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated Impunity Index, a list of countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. Colombia, historically one of the world′s deadliest nations for the press, improved as the rate of murders declined and prosecutors won important recent convictions.

"We′re distressed to see justice worsen in places such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Our findings indicate that the failure to solve journalist murders perpetuates further violence against the press," said Joel Simon, CPJ executive director. "Countries can get off this list of shame only by committing themselves to seeking justice."

CPJ's Impunity Index, compiled for the second year, calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of a country′s population. CPJ examined every nation in the world for the years 1999 through 2008. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on this Index, a threshold reached by 14 countries this year.

Iraq, Sierra Leone, and Somalia—countries racked by armed conflict—top the Impunity Index. But most of the list encompasses peacetime democracies with functioning law enforcement, nations such as Russia, the Philippines, and India.

Brazil is the sole newcomer to the 2009 index. Although Brazilian authorities have succeeded in prosecuting some journalist murders, those efforts have not offset the nation′s high rate of deadly violence against the press.

CPJ began compiling the index in 2008 to raise awareness about a disturbing pattern of impunity in countries across the world. The organization has undertaken a Global Campaign Against Impunity to seek justice in journalist murders, the world′s gravest threat to free expression, and has focused particularly on unsolved killings in Russia and the Philippines.

This year′s report is being released in Manila to mark the fourth anniversary of the murder of Marlene Garcia-Esperat, a Philippine columnist who reported on corruption in the government′s agriculture department. Garcia-Esperat was gunned down in her home in front of her family in a case that has become emblematic of the struggle against impunity. Two government officials are accused of ordering her murder.

"Philippine journalists are clamoring for justice in at least two dozen unsolved cases, and they need government protection from the murderous thugs who are killing their colleagues year after year," said Elisabeth Witchel, CPJ′s impunity campaign coordinator. "We call on the Philippine government to take the hard steps needed to gain convictions: assigning sufficient prosecutors and investigators to these cases, moving trials to safe and impartial venues, protecting witnesses, and providing high-level political backing for all of these efforts."

Among the other findings in CPJ′s Impunity Index:

* All of the countries included in the 2008 Index remained on the list this year. Only slight changes were seen in the rankings and ratings of most countries.
* Unsolved murders were reported in both Russia and the Philippines in 2008. Both countries have had stubbornly high rates of impunity in journalist slayings over the past decade.
* South Asian journalists face particularly severe risks. The region′s nations make up nearly half of CPJ′s index. Six are included on the 2009 list: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India.
* Even in wartime, journalists are more likely to be targeted and murdered than killed in combat. In Iraq, for example, murders account for nearly two-thirds of all media fatalities.
* Although conditions in Iraq improved in 2008, authorities there have yet to solve a single murder case involving a journalist.
* Worldwide, the vast majority of victims are local reporters covering sensitive topics such as crime, corruption, and national security in their home countries.

For more information contact:
Committee to Project Journalists
Phone: 212-465-1004

Subject Headings and Related Resources:

    Information and Media Resources from Sources
Main News Release page Media releases from clients of the Sources media relations service.
Sources Calendar Check out newsworthy events from across Canada.
Sources Directory Search the Sources directory of experts, contacts and media spokespersons. Find how to include yourself in Sources.
Publish your news releases Sources can help you distribute your media releases
Media Names & Numbers Directory of Canada's print and broadcast media.
Parliamentary Names & Numbers Full contact information for government, political parties, lobbyists, and embassies.

Sources home page

Sources HomeSources directory of experts and newsmakersDownload free PDF sourcebooksMedia Names & Numbers Canadian media listsParliamentary Names & Numbers Canadian government directoryCanadian News ReleasesJournalism & Media LinksFame & Fortune Awards for Writers & JournalistsSources Calendar of Canadian eventsSources HotLink media relations newsletterProducts & services to get your message outInclude yourself in Sources and raise your profileAdvertising placements targeting opinion leadersAbout our AdvertisersSubscribe to Canada's top media & government directoriesCanadian media & government mailing lists & databasesDistribute your media releasesSuccess stories from Sources clientsEmployment & internship opportunitiesContact Sources