Fewer Journalists Killed This Year Due to Reduced Mideast Violence, Reporters Group Says
Forty-six professional and nonprofessional journalists and media workers were killed in connection to their work since the beginning of 2021, according to an annual roundup published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF, an abbreviation of “Reporters sans frontiers”) on Tuesday. This is fewer than at any time since 1995, when RSF began compiling statistics on violence and abuses against journalists.
The nongovernmental organization uses the period January 1 to December 1 of each year as the basis for its comparisons.
Most of those killed (65%) were not merely “collateral damage,” caught in cross-fire in war zones or otherwise accidentally killed, but “deliberately targeted and eliminated,” the organization reported. The most dangerous countries for journalists were Mexico (where seven journalists were killed), Afghanistan (six), Yemen (four) and India (four).
The NGO attributes the relatively low number to “a decline in the intensity of conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and to campaigning by press freedom organizations, including RSF, for the implementation of international and national mechanisms aimed at protecting journalists.”
However, the number of media professionals imprisoned around the world – 488 – rose by 20% over the past year, largely due to crackdowns on press freedoms in Myanmar, Belarus and Hong Kong, and is higher than it has ever been since 1995. The number of female journalists detained – 60 – is also at a record high, and represents a 30% increase over 2020. RSF also reports that 65 journalists are being held hostage, all but one of them in Middle Eastern countries: Syria (44), Iraq (11), Yemen (nine) and Mali (one).