For the second year in a row, Somalia topped the list of countries where the killing of journalists is most likely to go unpunished, a prominent media watchdog said.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said in a report issued Thursday that al-Shabab militants were responsible for the majority of media killings in Somalia. In Iraq and Syria, the countries that ranked second and third for impunity in media killings, the Islamic State group was responsible for most of the deaths.
“Impunity in the murders of journalists emboldens would-be killers and forces the media to operate in a climate of fear, which in turn restricts information available to the public,” said Elisabeth Witchel, author of the report and CPJ’s consultant for the Global Campaign Against Impunity. “States need to urgently address this situation with robust mechanisms to protect, investigate, and prosecute when journalists are threatened or attacked.”
The report found that although most of the unpunished killings of journalists were carried out by militants, criminal groups and government officials are also behind the killings of journalists in other countries, including the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, Russia and India.
Despite the continued impunity six countries, out of 13 on the list — Bangladesh, Brazil, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia and Somalia — convicted people charged with killing journalists in the past year. The list is made up of 13 countries where there have been five or more unsolved killings of journalists over the past decade.
CPJ said around 95 percent of the victims were local reporters, most of them covering politics and corruption.