For the first time since the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) compiled the Impunity Index, Iraq is not ranked as the worldwide worst offender, as Somalia edged into that spot.
Iraq’s numbers of unsolved murders remain staggering — 84 journalists have been slain with complete impunity over the last decade, far more than any other country-but lethal anti-press violence, while still frequent, has fallen from its height in 2006 and 2007 when a combined total of 55 journalists were murdered.
Dozens of attacks ranging from abductions to murder are believed to have taken place in territories controlled by Islamic State militants, but the group’s tight control of information has prevented CPJ from confirming most of these attacks and including those victims on this list, a fact that belies Iraq’s ostensible improvement.
Only one case in Iraq has met with any level of justice, and it took place in the autonomous Kurdistan region. In October 2014, a criminal court sentenced a suspect to death for the 2013 killing of Kawa Garmyane, editor-in-chief of a monthly magazine in Kurdistan.
While the conviction, the first in Iraq, is a major leap forward in the fight against impunity, the case was set back in January this year when the same court acquitted the military commander charged with ordering the assassination.