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Impunity In Journalists' Murders 'Firmly Entrenched' In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia

An impromptu shrine in the Pakistani city of Lahore to a news cameraman killed in a suicide bombing in 2016.
An impromptu shrine in the Pakistani city of Lahore to a news cameraman killed in a suicide bombing in 2016.

In a new report, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says "impunity" in the cases of murdered journalists remains "firmly entrenched" in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, and 10 other countries across the world.

CPJ's 2019 Global Impunity Index, published on October 29, found that the 13 countries that make up "the list of the world’s worst impunity offenders" include a "mix of conflict-ridden regions and more stable countries."

The New York-based media freedom watchdog described these countries as places "where criminal groups, politicians, government officials, and other powerful actors resort to violence to silence critical and investigative reporting."

"Unchecked corruption, ineffective institutions, and lack of political will to pursue robust investigations are all factors behind impunity," it added.

Somalia is the worst country for the fifth year in a row in a ranking based on deaths as a percentage of each country's population -- 25 unsolved killings over the past 10 years in a country of 15 million people.

Syria was second and Iraq third on the list, followed by South Sudan, the Philippines, and Afghanistan, where there has been a total of 11 unresolved killings for a a population of 37.2 million.

Pakistan ranked eighth with 16 unsolved killings. Russia was 11th with six.

Other countries making up the list are Brazil, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and India.

The 13 countries accounted for 222 of the 318 deaths in the past 10 years, CPJ said, with many of the cases linked to war and civil unrest.

"In the past decade, armed militant groups such as Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and the Islamic State group have most often targeted journalists with complete impunity," CPJ said.

"However, criminal groups have become a major threat, killing large numbers of journalists and routinely escaping justice," the report said.

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