A+ A-

Iraq tops 13 countries where journalists'' killers are not prosecuted - CPJ

UNITED NATIONS, April 30 (KUNA) -- Iraq tops the "Impunity Index" of 13 "democracies" where governments consistently failed to prosecute journalists' killers, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) which released the Index for the first time in connection with World Press Freedom Day to be marked May 3rd.
The 13 countries where governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute the killers are: Iraq, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Afghanistan, Nepal, Russia, Mexico, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
The committee acknowledged that the first three countries have been mired in conflict, but the rest, it noted, are "peacetime democracies," such as Mexico, where elected governments have failed to protect journalists.
"Every time a journalist is murdered and the killer is allowed to walk free it sends a terrible signal to the press and to others who would harm journalists," Joel Simon, CPJ Executive Director, told a press conference on Wednesday.
"The Governments on this list simply must do more to demonstrate a real commitment to a free press. Lip service won't help save journalists' lives. We are calling for action: through investigations and vigorous prosecutions in all journalist homicides," he added.
Simon said the committee is also very much concerned by the fact that journalists are often intimidated by Governments because of their views. In a message marking World Press Freedom Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that a "free, secure and independent media is one of the foundations of peace and democracy".
"Attacks on freedom of press are attacks against international law, humanity, and freedom itself -- everything the United Nations stands for," he added.
Ban said he is "alarmed" at the increasing targeting of journalists around the world, and the failure to thoroughly investigate and prosecute such crimes.
Calling on all societies to spare no effort in bringing to justice the perpetrators of such attacks, Ban paid tribute to all who work in difficult and dangerous conditions to provide the world with free, unbiased information. (end) sj.ajs KUNA 302047 Apr 08NNNN