The global rate of unpunished murders remains stubbornly high at just below 90 percent. Senior officials in the most dangerous countries are finally acknowledging the problem -- the first step in what will be a long, hard battle. By Elisabeth Witchel
Nearly two years since 32 journalists were murdered, the fight for justice has both intensified in rhetoric and bogged down in technicalities. Without a greater commitment of resources, the litmus test is one the Philippines could fail. By Shawn W. Crispin
Murders decline, but fatalities rise during coverage of protests. Photographers and freelancers pay an especially high price. Pakistan is the world's most dangerous nation.
Despite high levels of press and Internet freedom, provincial journalists worked under constant threat of reprisal. Two broadcast journalists, Gerardo Ortega and Romeo Olea, were shot and killed for their reporting. Both cases were unsolved by year's end, underscoring the country's third worst ranking on CPJ's 2011 Impunity Index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of a country's population. The vow of President Benigno S. Aquino III to reverse the trend went unfulfilled as legal proceedings in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, in which 32 media workers were ambushed and slain, stalled amid numerous defense motions to disqualify witnesses and suppress outside scrutiny. In another high-profile case, an appeals court denied a dismissal motion filed by two government officials accused of plotting the 2005 murder of reporter Marlene Garcia-Esperat. Although the decision cleared the way for arrests, the long-running prosecution has been beset by delays. Press advocates were critical of a new freedom of information bill, which they said would curtail access to official documents.
Bangkok, January 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the shooting death of Philippine radio commentator and community newspaper publisher Christopher Guarin and calls on authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly.
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