Sri Lanka drops to 6th place in Global Impunity Index

Sri Lanka drops to 6th place in Global Impunity Index

October 9, 2015   03:05 pm

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Sri Lanka has moved two places to sixth in the 2015 ‘‘Global Impunity Index’’ prepared by an international media watchdog on the basis of unsolved murders of scribes.

Only 14 countries where at least five journalists have been murdered without a single perpetrator being convicted are included in the list. The index covers murders that took place between September 1, 2005, and August 31, 2015.

“Sri Lanka moved to sixth place from fourth on this year’s Index, its improvement due not to prosecutions-the island nation still maintains a perfect record of impunity in journalist slayings-but to the fact that no journalists have been murdered for their work since the end of civil war in 2009,” according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“So far, President Maithripala Sirisena, inaugurated in January this year, has demonstrated greater political will for justice than his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, under whose leadership nine media murders, including the five from this index period, took place.” 

In May, Sirisena pledged to reopen the investigations into journalists killed or disappeared during the last 30 years, naming the assassination of prominent editor Lasantha Wickramatunga and the disappearance of cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda as priority cases. 

Since then, at least seven army officers have been arrested in connection with Ekneligoda’s case. Wickramatunga’s and all other killings remain unsolved.

Sri Lanka has an imounity index rating of 0.242 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants. Last year the country was ranked 4th with a rating of 0.443.

Somalia tops this year’s list with a rating of 2.857 followed by Iraq (2.414) and Syria (0.496). 

CPJ’s Impunity Index is compiled as part of the organization’s Global Campaign Against Impunity.

The 14 countries on the index combined account for 83 percent of the unsolved murders that took place worldwide during the 10-year period ending August 31, 2015.

Half the countries on the Impunity Index-Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria-failed to provide any updated information on investigations into journalist killings for the most recent (2014) biannual impunity report of the Director General of UNESCO, the U.N. agency mandated to promote freedom of expression, demonstrating a lack of international accountability.

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