The Philippines had the largest number of unsolved killings of journalists with 41, followed by Mexico with 30; Somalia with 25; and Syria and Iraq with 22 each, a New York-based media watchdog said Wednesday.
READ: PH ranks fifth in global impunity index for journo killings
The Committee to Protect Journalists said 13 countries accounted for 222 of the 318 deaths in the last 10 years, with many of the cases linked to war and civil unrest.
“In the past decade, armed militant groups such as Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and the Islamic State group have most often targeted journalists with complete impunity,” the CPJ report said.
“However, criminal groups have become a major threat, killing large numbers of journalists and routinely escaping justice. Mexico, to date this year’s deadliest country for journalists, has seen its impunity rating worsen nearly every year since 2008, as criminal cartels waged a campaign of terror against the media.”
Other countries making up the 13 worst were South Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, Nigeria and India.
The Palace denied there is a culture of impunity against media workers in the country, despite a New York-based press freedom watchdog listing the Philippines among countries with the worst record of prosecuting killers of journalists.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said the Philippines has landed in the World Impunity Index list nearly every year since the index was first published over a decade ago, partly due to the deadly ambush of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists and media workers, in Ampatuan, Maguindanao in 2009.
The Philippines also ranked fifth in the 2017 and 2018 World Impunity indexes.
CPJ said the Philippines’ rating even worsened from last year.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo refuted the results of the index, saying that legal processes in the country are still at work.
“We do not know if a journalist was killed, in relation to his job as a journalist. There could be other personal motivations behind the killing,” Panelo said.
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security also said Wednesday that the report naming the Philippines as among the most dangerous countries for media workers is “expected.”
PTFoMS Executive Director Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco said the results of the Global Impunity Index of the CPJ will likely be the same as long as the Maguindanao massacre, dubbed as the single deadliest attack on members of media, remains unresolved.
“In fact, we have been anticipating that because for as long as the massacre case remains in the equation, following the methodology used by CPJ, we shall remain on that list,” he added.
Egco also said the Maguindanao massacre has been keeping the country in the list of deadliest countries for media workers since 2009.
The CPJ report covered a 10-year period from August 2009 to August this year, Egco said, and includes the Maguindanao massacre.
The Department of Justice recently said the verdict on the case may soon be promulgated, a decade since the killings.
“Thus, we are looking at a much better and improved ranking for the Philippines,” Egco said.
But Egco also reported that unidentified men on a motorcycle attacked the manager of Radyo ni Juan in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat near noon Wednesday.
Egco said Benjie Caballero was in his house in Tacurong when he was shot by one of the armed men.
Egco said based on reports he received, Caballero was taken to a hospital where he was still being revived.