Politics, corruption most dangerous beats for journalists worldwide

Committee to Protect Journalists | The Wall Street Journal | Freedom House

Half the journalists on the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2013 Impunity Index cover either politics or corruption. That's just one of the findings of the annual report, which highlights "deadly, unpunished violence against the press."

The report comes out in timing with World Press Freedom Day, which is Friday.

Iraq remains the most dangerous country for journalists: "No convictions have been obtained in 93 journalist slayings in the past decade," the report says. Nigeria, which wasn't on the 2012 list, makes this year's due to a rise in anti-press violence:

With five unsolved murders, it has the second worst impunity rating in Africa, behind only Somalia. Those covering the activities of the extremist Muslim group Boko Haram are particularly vulnerable. In 2012, assailants shot and killed Enenche Akogwu of independent Channels TV as he reported on the aftermath of terrorist attacks in the northern city of Kano.

Writing about CPJ's report, Khalid Khattak notes that homicide kills far more journalists than wartime reporting.

Freedom House Monday published its annual report rating press freedom in various countries. The "percentage of the world’s population living in societies with a fully free press has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade," it says.

Reasons for decline included the increasingly sophis­ticated repression of independent journalism and new media by authoritarian regimes; the ripple effects of the European economic crisis and longer-term challenges to the financial sustainability of print media; and ongoing threats from nonstate actors such as radical Islamists and organized crime groups.

Ecuador, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay and Thailand moved onto Freedom House's "Not Free" list this year. Mali "suffered the index’s largest single-year decline in a decade due to a coup and the takeover of the northern half of the country by Islamist militants, and media in Greece came under a range of pressures as a result of the European economic crisis," the report says.

In the Americas, the United States "is still among the stronger performers in the region, but the limited willingness of high-level government officials to provide access and information to members of the press was noted as a concern."

The U.S. is ranked 26th in the world for press freedom, according to Freedom House's global rankings. Norway places highest; Turkmenistan is at the bottom. In Western Europe, Italy and Greece's press corps are ranked only "partly free."

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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