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90pc cases of journo murder, torture unresolved

World observes Int’l Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists today

Published : 01 Nov 2021 10:35 PM | Updated : 03 Nov 2021 02:18 PM

Today is the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists’. The special day is being observed worldwide to end for crimes against journalists and journalism as well as to promote the need for press freedom around the world.

On the other hand, around 90 percent of cases related to the killing or torturing journalists remain almost unresolved, said a report of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2021 Impunity Index, published on October 28.

The annual Index spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go free.

According to the report, around 1,200 journalists were killed in last 14 years and 90 per cent of those cases remain unresolved. This includes the case of James Foley’s ISIS murderers, who have yet to be sentenced seven years after he was killed. Foley grew up in Rochester, and his parents still live there.

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The Index shows little change from 2020, with Somalia remaining the worst country for impunity in journalist killings for the seventh year. It is followed by Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan. Illustrating the sustained lack of accountability, seven of the countries on the list have appeared every year. In 81% of all cases in the Index, CPJ recorded complete impunity.

In countries like Mexico, which has consistently remained the deadliest country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere, there have been some key convictions in the cases of journalists Javier Valdez Cárdenas and Miroslava Breach Velducea. 

However, attacks have continued unabated, with at least three killed thus far in 2021, a chilling sign of how murder can stifle the press freedom environment.

While the Index reflects some of the most dangerous countries for journalists, it doesn’t include the full scope of threats to press freedom, from imprisonment to surveillance, to physical attacks. For example, Afghanistan’s spot on the Index did not change, yet its vibrant media landscape has been decimated since the Taliban took control of the country during the U.S. withdrawal. As Afghanistan’s judicial system collapses, the prospect of justice for the 17 journalists killed in the last 10 years moves further out of reach.

CPJ remains steadfast in its commitment to securing justice for journalists and ensuring family and colleagues get the answers they deserve. In an important step, CPJ and partners, as part of A Safer World For The Truth, will host a Permanent People’s Tribunal to hold governments accountable for the murder of journalists, delivering indictments to Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Syria. 

The opening hearing is November 2, coinciding with the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Learn more and RSVP here.

CPJ’s Global Impunity Index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of population. The 2021 Index examines journalist murders that occurred between September 1, 2011, and August 31, 2021. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index. Read about our methodology.

Meanwhile, the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire is commemorating the day by presenting “Justice for Journalism: Threats Facing a Free Press.” The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester. Diane Foley of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation and Carlos Martinez de la Serna will headline the panel discussion, moderated by NHPR’s Hannah McCarthy.

The audience will hear why so few cases of violence and repression are ever resolved, as well as what everyday people can do to help promote press freedom around the world.

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