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Nigeria a newcomer in list of deadliest countries for journalists

Screen shot 2013-05-02 at 11.51.06 AM
Index of most dangerous countries for journalists. (Committee to Protect Journalists)

Nigeria is a new addition to the list of the most dangerous countries in which to be a journalist, joining mainstays such as Pakistan, Somalia and Mexico.

Five journalists in Nigeria have been murdered since 2009. None of the cases have been solved.

“Investigations into these killings are usually carried out with sloppiness, and no real culprits are caught," said Ayode Longe, a senior officer with the Media Rights Agenda, a press freedom group in Nigeria. “That has emboldened others to assault journalists, believing nothing would be done to them."

The global index is released each year by the Committee to Protect Journalists and calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country's population.

The index also found soaring impunity rates in Somalia, Pakistan, and Brazil.

The CPJ said conditions for journalists are improving in Nepal and Russia, "although both nations remain dangerous for the press."

The analysis founds increasing anti-press violence in Somalia, Pakistan, and Brazil, where national leaders are unwilling or unable to address the issue. In Somalia, 23 journalist murders have gone unsolved over the past decade.

The CPJ report highlights the cased of Wali Khan Babar, a journalist with Geo TV in Pakistan who was murdered in 2011.

While several suspects connected to one of the country’s leading political parties, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, are facing trial, the prosecution has been hindered by the murders of five people connected to the investigation, including witnesses and police officers.

In November 2012, an eyewitness was gunned down two days before he was due to give testimony, the CPJ said.

Iraq is said to be the most dangerous country in which to be a journalist. Over the past 10 years, there have been 93 unsolved killings of journalists in the country of 33 million. Somalia was ranked No. 2, followed by the Philippines, where 55 journalists have been murdered without any convictions in the country of 94 million.

Rick Westhead is a foreign affairs writer at the Star. He was based in India as the Star’s South Asia bureau chief from 2008 until 2011 and reports on international aid and development. Follow him on Twitter @rwesthead


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