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Reporters Without Borders: ‘Iraq, Syria at the forefront of countries killing journalists’

December 31, 2022 at 1:47 pm

Supporters of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) protest in front of the The Brandenburg Gate to demand both U.S. presidential candidates state publicly to guarantee freedom of the press in the U.S [Maja Hitij/Getty Images]

Iraq and Syria have ranked high among the most dangerous countries for journalists, according to a report by Reporters Without Borders published on Friday. The report indicated that 1,668 journalists were killed worldwide between 2003 and 2022 – an average of 80 journalists annually.

The report stated that Iraq and Syria alone recorded: “The deaths of more than one-third of the reporters who have been killed.”

They came before Mexico (125), the Philippines (107), Pakistan (93), Afghanistan (81) and Somalia (78), while more than 95 per cent of reporters killed are men.

The years 2012 and 2013 were the worst during the past two decades as, according to RWB: “144 and 142 journalists were respectively killed, mainly because of the conflict in Syria. These two peaks were followed by a gradual tranquillity and then historic low figures as of 2019.”

However, the death toll began to increase again in 2022, when 58 journalists were killed while performing their duties, compared to 51 the previous year due to the war in Ukraine.

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Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February, eight journalists have been killed, along with 12 others in the last 19 years. Thus, Ukraine came second among the most dangerous countries in Europe after Russia (25 deaths over 20 years).

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP): “Since Vladimir Putin assumed power, the attacks – including fatal ones – on the freedom of the press have become regular there, and Reporters Without Borders has often condemned these practices, especially the symbolic assassination of Anna Politkovskaya on October 7, 2006.”

France came fourth in Europe: “Because of the killings that occurred in Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2015.”

Coverage of armed conflict is the reason behind the killing of many journalists in the past 20 years, but according to the report: “The number of journalists killed in peaceful zones was greater than in those in war zones because of their investigations into organised crime and corruption.”

Reporters Without Borders indicated that half of the journalists killed in 2022 occurred in South or Central America, which undoubtedly proves: “It is the most dangerous for the media.”

READ: 2022 saw highest number of journalist deaths in the past four years, RSF reveals