A REPORT from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) revealed that the Philippines, for the second time in a row, remained fifth among the countries with the worst prosecution of journalist killers.
In the recent CPJ’s 2018 Global Impunity Index report, the Philippines followed countries in the Middle East and African regions, namely Somalia, Syria, Iraq and South Sudan. The said report ranked countries that exempted and/or failed to prosecute alleged journalist killings.
Afghanistan, Mexico, Colombia, Pakistan, Brazil, Russia, Bangladesh, Nigeria and India ranked next to the Philippines in the same CPJ report.
For four years, specifically from 2011 to 2014, the Philippines ranked third on the same list. However, the rank favorably dropped to fourth in the years 2015 and 2016. In 2017, the country moved down to fifth place as reported by The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The New York-based organization noted that at least 324 journalists worldwide have been murdered with 85 percent of those cases, or about 275 of them, having perpetrators who remain unconvicted of their crimes.
CPJ Impunity Campaign Consultant Elisabeth Witchel said that the report revealed that the majority of the crimes were concentrated only in the few countries listed in the index.
“It is an emboldening message to those who seek to censor and control the media through violence. More than three quarters (82 percent) of these cases took place in the 14 countries that CPJ included in the index this year,” Witchel said.
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS), however, saw the silver lining in the country’s ranking, claiming that the Philippines’ rating can be seen as an improvement.
PTFOMS Executive Director Undersecretary Joel Egco claimed that the results of the Global Impunity Index report were somehow predictable since it made use of figures from unsolved media-related murders over a ten-year period.
The said period would include the Maguindanao Massacre that transpired in 2009 wherein 32 media workers were killed. The massacre has been named as the world’s deadliest single attack on media workers, journalists, civilians, and members of the Mangudadatu family.
The independent nonprofit organization is made up of about 40 experts around the world. CPJ is in charge of mobilizing a network of correspondents who will report and take action on behalf of those who are victimized and targeted especially when press freedom violations occur.
Its task is to report on violations in repressive countries, conflict zones, and established democracies alike. It is also composed of a board of prominent journalists from around the world that aid CPJ’s activities.