A report by Reporters Without Borders said the past two decades have been “particularly dangerous times” for journalists.
Nearly 1,700 journalists have been murdered worldwide over the past 20 years, an average of more than 80 per year, according to an analysis released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The two decades from 2003 to 2022 were “particularly dangerous decades for those serving the right to be informed,” say Paris-based media rights campaigners.
RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said: “Behind the numbers are the faces, personalities, talents and commitment of those who have paid the price with their lives to gather information, seek truth and faith. their passion for journalism.
The report comes out after seven months Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera TV reporter for 25 years, was killed by Israeli forces while she was covering an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in Jenin in the occupied West Bank. In all, 12 journalists Al Jazeera was killed on the front lines.
Iraq and Syria are the most dangerous countries for journalists
RSF says Iraq and Syria are the most dangerous countries for journalism, accounting for “a total of 578 journalists killed in the past 20 years, or more than a third of the worldwide total.”
This was followed by Mexico (125 killed), Philippines (107), Pakistan (93), Afghanistan (81) and Somalia (78). The report also claims that 80 percent of media deaths have occurred in 15 countries.
The “darkest years” were 2012 and 2013, “largely due to the war in Syria”. There were 144 homicides in 2012 and 142 the following year, the report said.
This peak was “followed by a gradual decline and then historic lows from 2019 onward.”
The Deadly Influence of Vladimir Putin
Deaths rise again in 2022, partly due to the war in Ukraine. So far, 58 journalists have been killed doing their jobs, up from 51 in 2021.
Eight journalists have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched an all-out invasion of the country on February 24. This compares to a total of 12 journalists killed in the country in the previous 19 years.
Ukraine is now most dangerous country in Europe for the media, after Russia itself, where 25 journalists have been killed in the past 20 years.
“Since (President) Vladimir Putin came to power, Russia has seen systematic attacks on press freedom – including deadly attacks,” the human rights group said. know. “These include the famous murder of Anna Politkovskaya on October 7, 2006.” Politkovskaya is a fierce critic of Putin and has exposed high-level corruption in the country. She was shot four times in her apartment complex after returning home from grocery shopping.
America remains the most dangerous continent for journalists
Reporters are at greatest risk worldwide in areas of armed conflict.
However, the RSF stressed, “countries where there is no official war taking place are not necessarily safe for journalists, and some of these countries are near the top of the list of homicides.”
“In fact, more journalists have been killed in ‘peace zones’ than in ‘war zones’ over the past two decades, in most cases because they were investigating organized crime. and corruption.”
The Americas account for nearly half of journalist murders, with Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Honduras responsible for most of the deaths.
“The United States today is clearly the world’s most dangerous continent for the media,” RSF said.