The killing of bloggers in Bangladesh propelled the country onto Global Impunity Index of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
“The ambush of a convoy in South Sudan and the hacking deaths of bloggers in Bangladesh this year propelled the two nations onto CPJ's Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go unpunished,” CPJ said in a report published yesterday.
Colombia exited the index as fatal violence against journalists receded further into that country's past.
For the first time since CPJ began compiling the index in 2008, Iraq did not claim the title of worst offender, as Somalia edged into that spot.
The shift reflects a steady death toll in Somalia, where one or more journalists have been murdered every year over the past decade, and the government has proved unable or unwilling to investigate the attacks.
A wave of violence against bloggers has landed Bangladesh back onto the index for the first time since 2011, the reports said.
“At least four Bangladeshi bloggers have been hacked to death by apparent Islamic extremists this year alone, and a total of five of Bangladesh's seven victims of unsolved murders over the last decade are bloggers who criticized religious extremism.”
Brazen attacks against bloggers like American-Bangladeshi Avijit Roy, who was pulled from a rickshaw by machete-wielding assailants outside a book fair in Dhaka, have been followed by a handful of arrests, but in only one case since 2005, Gautam Das, have the perpetrators been tried and convicted, it observed.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the nominally secular ruling Awami League party have done little to speak out for justice in these crimes, allowing political interests to trump rule of law,” the report said.
One colleague told CPJ, "Authorities seem more concerned with what bloggers are writing than going after their killers." In the wake of this unchecked terror, several bloggers have fled into exile.