The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has ranked Nigeria poorly on its 2013 impunity index. The global index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population ranked Nigeria number 11 from 12 worst countries of impunity.
Impunity is an attitude that disregards the rule of law and fuels the violation of human rights and the spread of violence in any given society.
Impunity is a fast growing monster that impedes the existence of media freedom and threatens rights and democratic aspirations of citizens. “In countries where authorities fail to deliver justice in the killing of journalists, the result is more killings, while journalists try to survive by exercising self-censorship,” said Joel Simon, CPJ Executive Director.
According to the report published on their website, there is a “steady rise in anti-press violence in recent years has pushed Nigeria onto the index for the first time. Nigeria is becoming one of the worst nations in the world for deadly, unpunished violence against the press as it enters the infamous list of countries killing journalists. With five unsolved murders, it has the second worst impunity rating in Africa, behind only Somalia. Those covering the activities of the extremist Muslim group Boko Haram are particularly vulnerable. In 2012, assailants shot and killed Eneche Akogwu of independent Channels TV as he reported on the aftermath of terrorist attacks in the northern city of Kano.”
Impunity in Journalists killings can be fought and stopped in Nigeria, thus, getting the country off the index listings as done in Nepal where improving conditions were found to reduce cases of impunity according to the CPJ’s analysis got Nepal off the listing entirely.
This is subject to the reduction of anti-press violence and successful prosecutions in journalist murders in the country. “Governments that are committed to solving these cases must guarantee witness protection,” Simon said adding that “A UN plan to combat deadly anti-press violence provides a pivotal opportunity for governments to take decisive steps to deliver justice.”
CPJ’s impunity index indicates that, local journalists were the victims in the vast majority of unsolved cases on CPJ’s index. Government and military officials are leading suspects in twenty-six percent of murder cases on the index.
Political reporting was the most dangerous beat. Thirty percent of the victims included on CPJ’s index covered political news and another twenty percent reported on corruption, the second most dangerous topic.
CPJ’s advocates are leading two campaigns to combat impunity in journalist murders. In 2012, CPJ launched SpeakJusticeNow.org to mobilize the online community to fight impunity in the digital space.
In addition, the newly launched campaign to stop impunity in Nigeria will advocate and strengthen the push for justice and eradication of impunity in all sectors. This is a hopeful and positive move to end impunity in journalist murders in Nigeria.