PH ranks 7th among countries with worst journalist killings

Front pages of Philippine-based newspapers, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer | Reuters/Dondi Tawatao

THE Philippines is the seventh country among the world’s worst impunity offenders, according to a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In its 2020 Global Impunity Index, released on Wednesday, October 28, Somalia remained as the world’s most dangerous country for journalists with 26 unsolved journalist deaths in a country of 15.4 million people, while the Philippines dropped down from last year’s fifth to seventh, with 11 unsolved murders in a country of 108.1 million people.

“The Philippines is the biggest mover in this year’s rankings, improving from the fifth worst country worldwide to the seventh worst,” CJP noted.

“The change reflects the fact that the November 2009 Ampatuan, Maguindanao, massacre of 58 people, including 30 journalists and two media workers, no longer falls into the 10-year time frame for calculating the index,” it added.

According to the New York-based watchdog, it adjusted the status of the Ampatuan cases to “partial impunity” from “full impunity” previously after a landmark ruling convicting the mastermind, his brother, and 26 accomplices.

“The Philippines has 11 unsolved murders in the current 10-year index period, compared with 41 for last year’s index,” CJP said.

CJP, however, noted that the convicted masterminds have appealed their convictions.

“In the Philippines’ labyrinthine and politicized legal system, their legal challenges could take several years to be tried and the possibility of their acquittal on appeal still looms large. Scores of suspects remain free, including Ampatuan clan members, leaving those who have pursued justice for the slain journalists exposed to possible reprisals,” it said.

“Meanwhile, the unaccountable killings continue apace, with at least two Filipino journalists murdered for their work so far in 2020,” the non-profit international organization added.

CJP’s Global Impunity Index annually “spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free.”

Below is the list of the 12 worst countries when it comes to prosecuting murderers of journalists:

1. Somalia (26 unsolved killings)
2. Syria (22 unsolved killings)
3. Iraq (21 unsolved killings)
4. South Sudan (5 unsolved killings)
5. Afghanistan (13 unsolved killings)
6. Mexico (26 unsolved killings)
7. Philippines (11 unsolved killings)
8. Brazil (15 unsolved killings)
9. Pakistan (15 unsolved killings)
10. Bangladesh (7 unsolved killings)
11. Russia (6 unsolved killings)
12. India (17 unsolved killings)

CPJ’s Global Impunity Index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. It examined journalist murders that occurred between September 1, 2010, and August 31, 2020, and remain unsolved. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index.

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