Considering Journalist Safety, Worldwide
Visiting the campaign site for the Committee to Protect Journalists is quite startling. There are maps, statistics, and there are the numbers of journalists killed recently, and as far back as 1992.
We spoke with them recently the state of journalist safety worldwide, and their new digital campaign: Speak Justice.
Here’s what Maria Salazar-Ferro, the Coordinator of CPJ’s Impunity Campaign, told us about violence and threats against journalists:
CPJ tracks a wide array of attacks on the press worldwide. Here are some numbers from several of our indicators.
* In 2012, 57 journalists have been killed in direct retaliation for their work worldwide. With this background in mind, the countries with the worse records in targeted murders of journalists this year are Somalia with 12 journalists murdered in retaliation for their work; Pakistan with five, and Syria with three.
* As of December 1, 2011, the countries with the highest number of jailed journalists were Iran, China, Eritrea, Burma, and Vietnam. We will be putting out new stats for 2012 next week.
* The top countries for impunity in murders of journalists—that is where journalists are routinely killed for their work and their killers go free are: Iraq, Somalia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Colombia.
And here’s Maria on what many killed journalists were covering, and who they were:
Of course each case is different, and trends vary between countries and regions. Most journalists who have been murdered covered one of five beats: corruption, politics, crime, armed conflict or human rights—all issues of vital importance to everyday life, and to democracy. They covered these stories at a very local level, which made them more vulnerable. More than 10% were freelancers, which meant they had little institutional support. But most importantly, they received very little protection from authorities—this is evident in the fact that in about 4/10 cases of murdered journalists there had been threats prior to the murder, which meant that the killing could have probably been prevented.
And on their main concern – impunity:
CPJ has found that impunity is a cycle in which journalists are killed, authorities are ineffectual, and for fear, the rest of the press corps self-censors. Speak Justice is looking to demand justice for murdered journalists from the grassroots up, and gain convictions in countries with high rates of impunity. In 2013, our advocacy will focus on the Philippines, Mexico, Russia and Pakistan.
The Speak Justice site will go live next week.
FJP: We’ve covered the violence against Mexican journalists a great deal, and those interested may want to look under our Mexico tag, and see this piece, as well as our interview with documentary filmmaker Bernard Ruiz.