Russia ranked 10th in the Global Impunity Index for the killings of journalists

By Anush Avetisyan | Originally published: Voice of America (Russian)

Place where journalist Peter R. de Vries was shot in Amsterdam
Place where journalist Peter R. de Vries was shot in Amsterdam

Over the past decade, 278 journalists have been killed worldwide. No one was punished for 226 of these murders.

In 2020, at least 22 journalists were killed worldwide. In 2021, the number of murders of reporters is already close to last year. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in the annual Global Impunity Index report, murderers of journalists continue to go unpunished in the vast majority of cases.

Over the past 10 years, 278 journalists around the world have been killed for carrying out their professional duties. In 80 percent of cases, no one was prosecuted for these crimes.

According to human rights activists, Somalia remains the worst country in the world in terms of unsolved murders of journalists. In the top five anti-rating – Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Afghanistan. The Committee to Protect Journalists emphasizes that the data in the new report cover the period from September 2011 to August 2021 and do not fully reflect the situation with the rights of journalists in Afghanistan.

According to CPJ analyst Gulnoza Said (Committee to Protect Journalists), after the Taliban seized power in Kabul, the Committee began to receive information about attacks on journalists.

“Since we learned of the Biden’s administration’s decision to withdraw troops, we have a team at the Committee to Protect Journalists working to help Afghan journalists. My colleagues took a huge number of journalists out of Afghanistan. Almost all journalists travel with their families. Very often, with small children, they traveled through … neighboring countries and are already safe in developed countries: in Europe or North America, which we are very happy about. But, unfortunately, not everyone who wants to leave Afghanistan was able to do this. And our organization continues to help them, ”said Gulnoza Said in an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America.

Women and journalists are the most vulnerable groups in Afghanistan. The Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation are trying to help them.

“We know that many women working in the media in Afghanistan have been trained by American organizations. And this fact alone poses a danger to their lives. Many are still in the country. It should be noted that even before the arrival of the Taliban, the opportunities for women journalists were small, but now they practically cannot work. The International Foundation for Women in Media has created an emergency fund to help women journalists leave the country and support those forced to stay in Afghanistan, ”said Charlotte Fox, spokeswoman for the International Foundation for Women in Media.

Two out of five journalists killed in 2020 in Afghanistan – Radio Azadi reporter Elyas Daiyi and freelancer Rahmatullah Nikzad – received death threats from Taliban fighters before they died. Human rights activists say there is little chance that the Taliban will look for the killers. Courts in Afghanistan are closed, and lawyers are hiding or fleeing the country.

“In Afghanistan, even under the previous regime, murders were not investigated, and now, when the Taliban came to power, the hope for this has practically died out. At least – for me and my colleagues in the Committee to Protect Journalists. This is what we voiced in the report. It is already clear that the Taliban will not treat journalists favorably, ”said Gulnoza Said.

Russia in the index of impunity for the murders of journalists took tenth place – after Brazil and Pakistan. Six journalists have been killed in Russia over the past ten years. No one was held accountable for these murders. Among the dead are journalist and co-founder of the Novy Peterburg newspaper Nikolai Andryushchenko, who was killed by unknown assailants in March 2017, and Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev, deputy editor-in-chief of Novy Delo, one of the most widely read authors in Dagestan, who became a victim of murderers in 2013- m year. Since 1992, since CPJ began compiling the Global Impunity Index, 58 Russian journalists have died, 38 of them killed as a direct result of their professional activities.

“What do you think – how many of these thirty-eight cases of murder of journalists were cases when someone was punished for murder ?! Five cases when someone was really brought to justice. When I say “someone,” I mean that the perpetrators of the murders were punished, not the customers. For example, the case with Anna Politkovskaya. And 33 of these 38 cases are examples of complete impunity, that is, even partial justice was not achieved, ”said Said.

Mexico ranks sixth in the index for the second year in a row. The report emphasizes that this year in Mexico, at least three journalists were killed with impunity in retaliation for their work. In 2020, there were four of them.