At least 370 journalists around the world have been murdered in direct connection to their work in the last 10 years, according to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). However, in 90 per cent of the cases, the perpetrators were not convicted.
The gruesome killings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State have received international attention. However, from the beginning of 2004 through 2013, out of the identified journalists that have been murdered, only nine received full justice.
“In 333 of the cases, no one has been convicted. In 28 cases, some suspects have been sentenced, or killed in the course of apprehension, but others believed to be connected to or to have ordered the crime remain free. Nine cases have reached complete justice, meaning all of the perpetrators, including the crime’s mastermind, have been convicted,” said the CPJ.
The CPJ, a US-based independent NGO which maintains detailed records on journalists’ killings from 1992 to the present, explained that one of the greatest impediments to press freedom around the world is impunity in the murder of journalists.
“There are many ways that widespread, enduring impunity takes hold when it comes to attacks on journalists. In some cases, it is a lack of political will. In others, conflict or weak law enforcement keeps justice at bay. In most situations, it is a combination of these factors,” the report said.
The CPJ noted that many governments have failed to take action despite their pledge to fight anti-press violence promoted by years of intensive advocacy by press freedom groups, human rights organizations, and journalists themselves.
The NGO added that while international attention to the issue has grown over the past decade, there has been little progress in bringing down rates of impunity. “States will have to demonstrate far more political will to implement international commitments to make an impact on the high rates of targeted violence that journalists routinely face,” the CPJ said.