The murder of a journalist is the ultimate form of censorship, yet the perpetrators of such crimes are seldom held to account. The persistent lack of justice for murdered journalists is a major threat to press freedom. Ten years after the United Nations declared an International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists – and more than 30 years after CPJ began documenting these killings – almost 80% of their killings remain unsolved.
CPJ is seeking justice for these slain journalists, including full and timely investigations and the convictions of all responsible for ordering and carrying out the murders.
Since 2008, CPJ has published its 2023 Global Impunity Index, an annual tally of countries where perpetrators of journalists’ murders continue to evade justice. In 15 years, the index has recorded the entrenchment of a pernicious pattern of unpunished murders.
The 2023 index shows rampant impunity continues unabated, with no one convicted in nearly 80% of the 263 cases of journalists murdered. The result: an intimidating effect on local journalists everywhere, corroding press freedom and shrinking independent and investigative reporting.
CPJ has recorded the murders of 956 journalists in connection with their work since it began tracking them in 1992. Their stories provide a portrait of injustice. Click through this mosaic to explore.
Jenin, West Bank
Saudi Arabian consulate, Istanbul
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Share the graphic above on your social media channels by downloading it here and use the language below to join us in calling for governments to #EndImpunity in journalist murders.
A Safer World For The Truth
A Safer World For The Truth is an initiative to investigate, document, and pursue justice for murdered journalists. The collaboration between CPJ, Free Press Unlimited (FPU), and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) focuses on solutions to global impunity by reinvestigating murders and reporting their findings to the media, civil society, and local authorities. The innovative project also included the Permanent People’s Tribunal, with five hearings that brought forth moving testimonies to advance justice.
Explore the project’s investigations of cold cases of journalists murdered with impunity:
- Elisabeth Blanche Olofio – Central African Republic
- Gerry Ortega – Philippines
- Pedro Palma – Brazil
- Regina Martínez – Mexico
- Sardasht Osman – Iraqi Kurdistan
- Sokratis Giolias – Greece
- Zubair Mujahid – Pakistan
The Last Column
“The Last Column” is a powerful project created by CPJ and partners highlighting the 24 final works of journalists killed in the service of newsgathering.
The global initiative sheds light on what is lost when a journalist is murdered, and includes a book and series of mini-documentaries.
Impunity in Haiti
“It’s never been this bad,” says Haitian journalist Garry Pierre-Pierre.
Haiti is in crisis, its economy battered by natural disasters and gang violence. Since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, journalists have been forced to work in what lawyers and media experts say is a climate of almost total lawlessness.
Haiti appeared on CPJ’s Impunity Index for the first time in 2023 after the murder of five journalists there since 2021. No justice has been achieved in their cases.
- Impunity for killers of journalists has a long history in Haiti: CPJ collaborated on a podcast investigating radio journalist murders in Haiti in the 1990s.
Long road to justice
In 1988, Peruvian journalist Hugo Bustíos Saavedra was murdered in an attack initially blamed on Shining Path guerillas. Allegations soon emerged that Bustíos had been deliberately targeted by an army patrol.
Almost 35 years after Bustios’ murder, and after years of advocacy by CPJ and other press freedom groups, a Peru court convicted Daniel Urresti—a former presidential candidate, interior minister, and congressman– in April 2023 and sentenced him to prison for his role in Bustios’ killing.
Read more about the 35-year road to justice here.
The toll of impunity
In 2009, 32 journalists and media workers were murdered in the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines, the deadliest attack on the press ever recorded by CPJ. While some convictions have been achieved, the fight for full justice continues.
Watch this powerful video made a year after the massacre, as a CPJ delegation traveled from the murder scene in Ampatuan to the presidential palace in Manila. Family members, justice officials, and political leaders talk about the challenges of achieving justice.