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
"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
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.
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