stop killing press Soe Than WIN/AFP/Getty Images

Stop Killing the Messenger

Every year, more members of the media are murdered for their reporting than are killed in war zones, and yet less than 10% of those responsible are ever brought to justice. Many journalists are starting to fight back, but they need institutional help.

NEW YORK – What does it cost to silence a muckraking reporter? In the Philippines, officials needed just $250 in 2011 to buy the services of a journalist-slaying gunman. In Slovakia, Ján Kuciak and his fiancée were killed in February for about $80,000.

For corrupt politicians and crime bosses, neither sum is significant. The cost to democracy, however, is immeasurable.

Every year, more journalists are murdered because of their reporting than die in war zones. Since 1992, when the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) began compiling data, 1,324 journalists have been killed on the job, and 849 of them were executed for their work. But in nearly 90% of these murders, the people who ordered the attacks escaped justice. On the rare occasion that a full investigation was conducted, only low-level associates were ensnared. The big fish usually got away.

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