Iraq ranks third worldwide in impunity for those who murder journalists

Iraqis demonstrate against the arrest of journalists and activists. (Photo: Archive)
Iraqis demonstrate against the arrest of journalists and activists. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Sulaimani-based Metro Center for Journalists Rights and Advocacy said in a statement on Tuesday that Iraq was one of the worst countries in the world for bringing those who kill journalists to justice.

This comes two days after the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international media rights watchdog, released its yearly Impunity Index, ranking Iraq as third.

"The index showed little change from a year earlier, with Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan, in that order, again coming in behind Somalia to occupy the worst four spots on the list, as conflict, political instability, and weak judicial mechanisms perpetuate a cycle of violence against journalists," read a CPJ statement.

The Metro Center said in its own press release from a conference in Beirut commemorating media workers killed in Iraq that "attempts to coerce journalists and force them to remain silent in the face of corruption and human rights violations" continue to run rampant.

According to CPJ's annual report for this year, out of a total of 278 assassinations of journalists worldwide, in 226 of the cases, the killers went unpunished.

According to the Metro Center, these assassinations of journalists came in direct connection with their journalistic work and as a result of their reports and writings on corruption and the crimes of terrorist organizations and other armed groups.

The Metro Center was established in 2009 by a group of journalists and human rights advocates and is supported by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). It aims to monitor the free press throughout the autonomous Kurdistan Region.