At Least 63 Professional Journalists Were Killed Across The World In 2018, Says Report
December 31st, 2018 / 12:02 PM
Image Credit: NDTV (Representational)
The year 2018 is about to end and it is advisable to look back on what happened in this year. But doing so may not be very encouraging for the fourth pillar of democracy- the media and subsequently also for those who believe in democracy.
What does the report state?
More number of journalists were killed, abused and subjected to violence in 2018 than in any other year on record, with those working in media facing an ‘unprecedented level of hostility’, said a report released on December 18 by Paris-based Press Freedom Group named Reporters Without Borders.
The group, also known by its French acronym, RSF (Reporters Sans Frontières) said that attacks against journalists came in the form of deaths, imprisonment or disappearances have “risen in all categories”. It also criticised politicians and public figures for encouraging disdain for the news media, most notable among them the US President Donald Trump.
Reportedly, a total of 80 journalists were killed, including citizen journalists and media workers in 2018 which is a 15% increase from the number of deaths in 2017. Moreover, 61% were deliberately targeted for their reporting while 39% were killed while reporting. The report also found that 348 journalists were being detained by authorities and 60 were being held as hostages by non-state groups. This has pushed the total death toll of journalists across the globe in the last 10 years to 702.
The report also voiced concerns about increasing vociferous verbal attacks on the profession. RSF’s secretary-general Christophe Deloire said, “Violence against journalists has reached unprecedented levels this year, and the situation is now critical”.
He added, “The hatred of journalists that is voiced, and sometimes very openly proclaimed, by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists”.
The report cited several high profile cases including the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The group said that the “shocking” murder of Khashoggi in October, demonstrates “the appealing nature of the Saudi regime and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s oppressive methods”. The Logical Indian had reported that according to CIA, Saudi Crown Prince ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
The report added that the killing of Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak, an investigative reporter investigating potential links between organised crime and government officials and arrests of Reuters journalists Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone in Myanmar shows “how far some people can go to silence ‘troublsome’ journalists”.
India is at the fifth spot with the US
As per Los Angeles Times, the RSF puts together the annual compilation every year since 1995 and for the first time, the United States joined the list of five deadliest countries for journalists with six reporters killed in 2018. Four journalists were killed in a shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland in June.
Afghanistan was the deadliest country for journalists, with 15 reporters killed followed by Syria, Mexico and Yemen. India tied with the US for fifth place, with six reporters killed in both countries. China, Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the biggest jailers of journalists, says the report.
Other press freedom groups have also raised concerns about growing dangers to journalists across the world. In October, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that by that time, at least 43 journalists had been already killed as a result of their work and also talked about 47 other cases where the motive has not been confirmed. The CPJ has found out that between January 1 to December 14 of 2018, at least 53 journalists were killed globally, of which at least 34 were singled out as murder.
To highlight the importance of media and the role of journalists in exposing “the manipulation and the abuse of truth”- Time Magazine named “The Guardians”- a group of journalists who had been targeted for their work- as its Person of the Year for 2018.
Written by : Uday Bhanu (Intern)
Edited by : Sromona Bhattacharyya