The Impunity Index

(@6 – promoted by NLinStPaul)

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent non-profit organization devoted to protecting freedom of the press worldwide. Without freedom of the press, there can be no freedom for citizens, no true democracy.

We decry the erosion of our free press here, an erosion unfortunately perpetrated by the willing complicity of the media with the government. Here, the press has moved further and further away from its true task and responsibility–to animate our democracy with truthful reporting and penetrating analyses. Now the press for the most part seems to just be another corporation with something to sell.

In many parts of the world, however, journalists struggle to fulfill the true responsibilities of the free press–they struggle to exercise freedom in situations of true governmental repression, open and covert, and they even lose their lives for it.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has undertaken a campaign against impunity to stop repressive regimes from getting away with murder, the murder of the free press, and to seek justice for those murdered by demanding real investigations and prosecutions.

Introducing the Global Campaign Against Impunity, the CPJ writes:

Murder is the ultimate form of censorship. One reporter is killed, and hundreds are sent a message that certain topics are too dangerous to be discussed. Over the last 15 years, about 500 journalists have been murdered in direct relation to their work, CPJ research shows. While hundreds more have died in combat or other dangerous circumstances, murder is the leading cause of work-related deaths.

In this context, it is particularly distressing that the U.S. has been responsible for the detention of journalists as part of the so-called global war on terror. We have all just celebrated the release of Sami al-Haj from Gitmo, after 6 years of torture and detention without charge.

To coincide with UN-designated World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd, The CJR has published The Impunity Index, a list of the 13 countries with the worst records of impunity–unsolved homicides of journalists, “13 countries where journalists are murdered on a recurring basis and governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute the killers.”

Not surprisingly, Iraq tops the list. Followed by: Sierra Leone, Somalia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Afghanistan, Nepal, Russia, Mexico, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India.



Some of these findings are, perhaps, surprising:

  • Most countries on the Impunity Index are democratic, are not at war, and have functioning law enforcement institutions, yet journalists are regularly targeted for murder and no one is held accountable.
  • Journalists in South Asia are particularly vulnerable. Countries from that region make up almost half of the index. They include Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India.
  • Even in countries in conflict, such as Iraq, the vast majority of journalist deaths are homicides, not a product of crossfire.
  • Local reporters covering their home countries are most vulnerable. Most of the murders ranked in the Impunity Index were local journalists in their home countries.

I urge you to click through and read The Impunity Index and the accompanying remarks.

Let’s support the work of the Committee to Protect Journalists and fight for justice for these brave men and women, murdered as they strove to bring light to this world. Please take a moment to look around their site, to learn about and support all of the incredible work they are doing in a number of areas.

There is no freedom, no democracy, without freedom of the press. We have to fight to protect the free press all around the world. those murdered by demanding real investigations and prosecutions.  

7 comments

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    • srkp23 on May 4, 2008 at 9:07 am
      Author

    Also in the orange juice.

    • brobin on May 5, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Considering the fact that the press in this country seems to take the low road far too often, I find myself looking at news from Australia, UK, France, Sweden, Thailand and other sources in order to get a balance and give myself an opportunity to “see” certain stories in a different light.

    It often makes a difference in what I take away from the story beyond what I might have if I’d just read the US version.

    • geomoo on May 5, 2008 at 2:14 am

    It’s so easy to take them for granted.  But, as someone always points out in debates over the relative merits of bloggers and traditional media, without the journalists on the ground, we don’t have information to blog about.  I’m glad some are trying to keep witness to what is happening.  Thanks for linking this.

    The US can be proud to be directly involved in at least three of the top 13–Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Phillipines–and with strong ties to at least 2 more–Mexico and Pakistan.  I wonder if China fails to make the list because we don’t hear about cases there (see, without journalists we know nothing) or because there is no real free press to threaten them.

  1. and you have been on a roll sister!!! wow. whatever it is, i hope it keeps going!

    { { { { { srkpy } } } } }

  2. can be had by embracing the sites of the “hatters”.

    I noticed a distinct difference in al-jazzera.com pre and post invasion.

    Yes I will support forever the concept of a free press.  That effort though does include getting our CIA/corporate interests out of the institutional framework of the “press” corps infrastructure.

    Mainstream news to me is like fingernails scratching evil across my very soul.

    They adjust their talking points toward a thirteen year old audience.

    There are volumes upon volumes of blacklisted, verboten topics.

    http://www.projectcensored.org

    It is convieniently categorized into appropriate categories based upon the commonality of specific interests thus negating the effects of you or I standing upon a single specific categorized soap box.

    It is shunned by the mainstream news establishment as having zero credibility, well because you are just a stupid American and you are supposed to shop.

    If it were my choice I would celebrate truth in journalism in the very same way the right is now endorsing it’s meme of “thank our troops”.  Jay Severin, our local right wing radio pundit Pavloianly says “Thank you” to any callers that mention having ever been associated with the US military service.  Is that far removed from saying Heil Hilter at the start and end of any conversation?

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