PH among world’s worst impunity offenders — report

A protester displays a placard calling for press freedom during a protest with journalists in Manila on January 19, 2018. | AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Tuesday, October 29, listed the Philippines among the 13 countries that make up the world’s worst impunity offenders.

According to its 2019 Global Impunity Index, Somalia is the world’s worst country for the fifth year in a row based on unsolved journalist deaths as a percentage of each country’s population with 25 killings in a country of 15 million people, while the Philippines ranked fifth with 41 killings in a country populated with 107 million people.

“The Philippines has been among the worst five countries nearly every year since the index was first published in 2008,” CPJ said.

“The country’s fifth-worst ranking is due in part to the deadly ambush of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists and media workers, in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, on November 23, 2009. The trial of over 100 suspects behind the massacre is due to conclude this year, but as of August 31, 2019—the final date CPJ counted convictions for this year’s index—no verdict had been announced,” it added.

CPJ has found that the countries listed in the index represent a mix of conflict-ridden regions and more stable countries where criminal groups, politicians, government officials, and other powerful actors resort to violence to silence critical and investigative reporting.

“Unchecked corruption, ineffective institutions, and lack of political will to pursue robust investigations are all factors behind impunity,” the media watchdog noted.

Other countries listed in the index were Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, Nigeria, and India. Together these 13 countries accounted for 222 of the 318 deaths in the last 10 years with many of the cases linked to war and civil unrest.

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