LAHORE: The Committee to Protect Journalists has released its Global Impunity Index 2020 where it spotlights countries where journalists have been slain and their killers set free.
Pakistan is the ninth worst country on the list, just rising up one place from 2019, when it was the eighth worst country. Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan are on the top of the list, in that order, because of war and political instability.
The CPJ report finds that corruption, weak institutions, and lack of political will for solid investigation are some of the reasons why countries including Pakistan, Mexico, and the Philippines have impunity.
In the case of Pakistan, there are 15 unsolved murder cases of journalists. According to the CPJ database 61 journalists have been killed in attacks since 1992.
Report points out 15 unsolved murder cases of journalists
The Daniel Pearl case was also quoted in the report. On April 2, the Sindh High Court reversed the murder convictions of the four accused for the Wall Street Journal reporter’s murder in 2002. It did not directly affect the Global Impunity Index, pointed out the report, but it was a major legal development.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had previously been sentenced to death, was found guilty only of kidnapping Daniel Pearl and his sentence was cut down to seven years, which he had already served. The Pearl family and the Sindh provincial government appealed, and the four men remained imprisoned at the end of September. It showed that even resolved legal decisions could be upturned.
Globally, the report said, the number of journalists murdered in reprisal for their work was the lowest in 2019 that CPJ has recorded in any year since 1992. “The reason is difficult to pinpoint, with self-censorship, the use of other tools to intimidate reporters, and the high profile nature of some recent cases potentially playing a role,” it read.
Afghanistan was on the fifth spot, followed by Mexico on the sixth place, Philippines on the seventh, Brazil on the eight and Pakistan on the ninth spot. Bangladesh was the 10th worst country with seven unsolved cases, followed by Russia and India with six and 17 unsolved murder cases of journalists on the Global Impunity Index 2020.
Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2020