Nigeria: Murder of Over 200 Journalists Remain Unsolved - Report

 A new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has shown that 278 journalists have been killed in the last ten years.

Of these, the report noted, 226 murders, representing 81 per cent, either remain unsolved or saw the perpetrators roaming free.

These journalists, the CPJ said, were "killed in a nexus of corruption, organised crime, extremist groups, and government retaliation."

The annual report was published Thursday, and it spotlighted 12 countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go free.

The 12 countries on the index have featured multiple times since CPJ first ranked the data in 2008, and seven have appeared every year, the report states.

For the seventh year running, Somalia remains the world's worst country for unsolved killings of journalists in the last decade.

"It is followed by Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan. Illustrating the sustained lack of accountability, seven of the countries on the list have appeared every year," a CPJ press release said.

Other countries are Afghanistan, Mexico, the Philippines, Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, Bangladesh and India.

"When justice is subject to corruption and political power feuds, these forces silence journalists and the critical stories they tell," Gypsy Kaiser, CPJ's advocacy and communications director, said.

"It is imperative that authorities fully investigate these crimes and stop censorship by murder. This task cannot be left to the families, colleagues, and civil society groups tirelessly seeking justice."

Last year, at least 22 journalists were murdered in retaliation for their work, more than double the total for 2019.

For 2021, the number of murders is nearly as much as last year's, but political volatility in Afghanistan and other high-risk nations makes the final 2021 total difficult to predict, CPJ said.

This year also saw sentencings or positive developments in two other high-profile murder cases, involving countries not ranked on the index, the press rights group said.

"In Malta, businessman Yorgen Fenech was indicted in August for his alleged role in the 2017 murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, a move that Corrine Vella, the journalist's sister, called 'a turning point in the pursuit of justice'."

"In February, one of the alleged killers pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for Caruana Galizia's murder."

Meanwhile, Nigeria was not listed on this year's index. The committee said that "only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index."

The organisation had in 2017 ranked Nigeria 11th out of the 12 countries in the world where journalists are slain and the perpetrators go away.

Though the country was excluded from the list, journalists continue to work under frightening conditions in Nigeria. Between 2015 and 2018, Nigeria recorded the worst attacks on journalists in 34 years.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Tordue Salem, a journalist with Vanguard newspaper went missing. He was seen in Garki district of the FCT on October 13 before his disappearance.

Mr Salem's disappearance came two years after family and associates continue to look for Abubakar Idris, who is known as Dadiyata. Mr Idris was abducted by unidentified assailants who seized him from his residence in Barnawa neighbourhood of Kaduna State in August 2019.

The disappearance of citizens is at odds with the United Nations' Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

"No circumstances whatsoever, whether a threat of war, a state of war, internal political instability. . . may be invoked to justify enforced disappearances," a part of the charter read.

"Enforced Disappearance" is also seen as a crime against humanity by both the treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.



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