January 31, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

Philippines still among worst countries in prosecuting killers of journalists – CPJ

The Philippines still ranks 7th among the worst-performing countries in prosecuting journalist killers, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 2022 Global Impunity Index.

CPJ, a New York-based press freedom nonprofit, said in its report released Tuesday that there are 14 unsolved cases of murders of journalists in the country.

She added that there were fears that the culture of violence and impunity would persist in the country under President “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s administration following the recent assassination of Percival Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid, and Renato Blanco.

Asked for comment, Justice Department spokesman Mico Clavano said the index would not stop the Marcos government from investigating and prosecuting the killing and harassment of journalists.

“We know the importance of good journalism and we will take concrete steps to protect those who simply want to keep the government and its officials in check. It’s a right we must respect and uphold,” Clavano said in a message to reporters.

GMA News Online has contacted the office of press secretary Atty. Cheloy Garafil for Malacañang’s comment, but she has not yet responded at the time of publication.

Somalia remained at the top of the CPJ Index for the eighth consecutive year, while Myanmar appeared in eighth place for the first time.

The following is the ranking of countries with the worst prosecutions of journalist killers with their respective number of unsolved murders:

1. Somalia (19 unsolved murders of journalists)
2. Syria (16)
3. South Sudan (5)
4.Afghanistan (17)
5. Iraq (17)
6. Mexico (28)
7. Philippines (14)
8.Myanmar (5)
9. Brazil (13)
10.Pakistan (9)
11. India (20)

According to the 2022 CPJ Index, nearly 80% of the 263 media killings over the past 10 years have gone unaccounted for, while governments have shown “little interest” in taking action.

It states that “the vast majority of killers of journalists continue to get away with murder.”

“In nearly 80% of the 263 cases of journalists murdered around the world in retaliation for their work over the past decade, the perpetrators went unpunished,” CPJ added.

CPJ’s Global Impunity Index calculates the number of unsolved murders of journalists as a percentage of each country’s population, according to the organization.

For this index, researchers reviewed unsolved journalist murders that took place between September 1, 2012 and August 31, 2022.

According to the CPJ, only those countries with five or more unsolved cases are included in the index. – with Joahna Lei Casilao/KBK, GMA News