CPJ’s Impunity Index updates

Iraq tops the list of countries where murders of journalists have gone unsolved

The Committee to Protect Journalists updated its Impunity Index last week.

The Index calculates the number of unsolved murders of journalists against a country’s population, resulting in a figure that reflects both the tendency for journalists to be murdered and the reluctance or inability to solve those murders. A country has to have at least five unsolved journalist murders to be on the list at all. This year, there are 12 countries on the list.

At the “top” of the list is Iraq, for the sixth year in a row, with 2.818 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants. The second-worst country, Somalia, has 2.396 per million, after which there’s a steep drop to the third-worst country, the Philippines, with 0.580.

There were few “surprises” in the list; because the Index is cumulative, tracking all journalist murders from January 1, 2003 until the end of the previous year, there won’t be any dramatic movement unless there are a spate of unsolved murders in one year, causing a country to move up the list, or several are solved, causing the country to move down or off of it. Only Brazil has ever been removed from the list, in 2010, but it was back on by 2011 (it’s currently ranked 10th). So although CPJ says there have been no journalists murdered in Afghanistan since 2008, it’s still ranked sixth on the list because of the murders that occurred before that time that have not been solved.

Nigeria, at number 11, is new to the list, after Enenche Akogwu, murdered in January 2012, became its fifth unsolved journalist murder.

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Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison. Tags: ,