MANILA -- The Philippines ranks sixth among 14 countries where journalists have been killed, the 2009 Global Impunity Index of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.
"Philippine journalists are clamoring for justice in at least two dozen unsolved cases, and for government protection from the murderous thugs who are killing their colleagues year after year," Elisabeth Witchel, CPJ?s impunity campaign coordinator, said in a report.
The report was made available to local media at a press conference Monday organized by the CPJ?s local partners, the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists and the Southeast Asia Press Alliance.
The CPJ called on the Arroyo administration "to take hard steps needed to gain convictions," including assigning sufficient prosecutors and investigators to the cases and protecting witnesses.
The CPJ released its report in time with the fourth anniversary of the murder of Tacurong City journalist Marlene Esperat, who was shot dead in front of her children on March 24, 2005.
While the gunmen had been convicted, authorities have yet to prosecute the alleged masterminds, Department of Agriculture regional executives Osmeña Montañer and Estrella Sablay.
Iraq remains to be the most dangerous country for journalists, with at least 88 reporters murdered there since the US invasion began in 2003.
It has an impunity rating index of 2.821, followed by Sierra Leone with a rating of 1.636.
Somalia is third followed by Sri Lanka, Colombia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Nepal, Russian, Pakistan, Mexico, Bangladesh, Brazil and India.
The Philippines has an index rating of 0.289.
CPJ determines the country?s impunity index by dividing the number of murders by its total population.