October 29, 2018

On Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists released its annual Global Impunity Index, ranking the countries where the murder of journalists goes unsolved. The report comes as the push continues for answers in the disappearance and presumed death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and days after CNN received a pipe bomb in the mail.

For its report, CPJ examined the murder of journalists between Sept. 1, 2008, and August 31, 2018. Countries with five or more unsolved cases made the index. According to CPJ, it “defines murder as a deliberate attack against a specific journalist in relation to the victim's work.”

The majority of the victims were local journalists.

“In the past decade, at least 324 journalists have been silenced through murder worldwide and in 85 percent of these cases, no perpetrators have been convicted,” the report states. “It is an emboldening message to those who seek to censor and control the media through violence.”

In this year’s list, the ratings got worse in Syria, Mexico, Brazil and India. They improved in Somalia, Iraq, South Sudan, Philippines, Pakistan, Russia and Nigeria. Both Afghanistan and Colombia made the list this year and not last.

Among this year’s murders were two Ecuadorian journalists and their driver, who were kidnapped and killed in Colombia by drug traffickers, and nine journalists in Afghanistan who were killed in a suicide bombing along with at least 25 other people.

Here are the 14 countries that made this year’s list. The list, according to CPJ, calculates the impunity rating based on unsolved murders in the past 10 years as a percentage of that country’s population:

  • Somalia: 25 unsolved cases

  • Syria: 18 unsolved cases

  • Iraq: 25 unsolved cases

  • South Sudan: 5 unsolved cases

  • Philippines: 40 unsolved cases

  • Afghanistan: 11 unsolved cases

  • Mexico: 26 unsolved cases

  • Colombia: 5 unsolved cases

  • Pakistan: 18 unsolved cases

  • Brazil: 17 unsolved cases

  • Russia: 8 unsolved cases

  • Bangladesh: 7 unsolved cases

  • Nigeria: 5 unsolved cases

  • India: 18 unsolved cases

CPJ and the Freedom of the Press Foundation also track press freedoms in the United States This year, it reports that six journalists have been arrested, 40 attacked, five killed and 18 subpoenaed.

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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