Sri Lanka cited on journalist murder ‘Impunity Index’

UNITED NATIONS, April 30, 2008 (AFP) – India, the Philippines, Mexico and Colombia — all democracies — were cited Wednesday among 13 countries with the poorest records of prosecuting murders of journalists, in a list released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The CPJ noted that while Iraq, Sierra Leone and Somalia, all four mired in conflict, were the worst offenders, most of the others were “established, peacetime democracies.”

“Most countries on the Impunity Index are democratic, are not at war, and have functioning law enforcement institutions, yet journalists are regularly targeted for murder and no one is held accountable,” it said as it released the index ahead of World Press Freedom Day, which falls Saturday.

“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,” said New York-based CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

He urged governments on the list to “do more to demonstrate a real commitment to a free press.”

Almost half of the countries listed are in South Asia: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. And most of the murders ranked in the index were of local journalists in their home countries.

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