Getting Away with Murder…

Earlier this week the Committee to Protect Journalists released their latest Impunity Index — a ranking of “countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes” — i.e. the worst places in the world to be a journalist. Their annual report, the third of its kind, is an integral tool in the fight against government cover ups of crimes against the press, tacit approval of violent tactics used to silence dissent or disregard for the lives of those whose work is essential to balanced governance.

This year 12 nations made the list, with Iraq at the top. Only those countries with five or more unsolved murders in the last 10 years are included.

The list does not include those places where journalists are routinely threatened, attacked or have their offices ransacked. Perhaps because that list would be too long? It does, however, make the significant point that 90 percent of those murdered — targeted really — are local journalists. This issue has been on my mind a lot lately since coming home from Congo where I rely so heavily on locals to help me in my work. A vigorous dialogue about the responsibilities of the foreign media towards the local press, without whom we could report almost nothing, is in order.

I hope people will read this list and that the governments of countries included therein will be shamed into action.


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