Nearly 1,700 journalists killed over past 20 years, says Reporters Without Borders

© Eduardo Verdugo, AP

Nearly 1,700 journalists have been killed worldwide over the past 20 years, an average of more than 80 a year, according to an analysis published by Reporters Without Borders.

The two decades between 2003 and 2022 were "especially deadly decades for those in the service of the right to inform", said the Paris-based media rights campaigners.

"Behind the figures, there are the faces, personalities, talent and commitment of those who have paid with their lives for their information gathering, their search for the truth and their passion for journalism," RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

Iraq and Syria were the most dangerous countries to work as a journalist, accounting for "a combined total of 578 journalists killed in the past 20 years, or more than a third of the worldwide total", RSF said.

They are followed by Mexico (125 killed), the Philippines (107), Pakistan (93), Afghanistan (81) and Somalia (78).

The "darkest years" were 2012 and 2013, "due in large measure to the war in Syria". There were 144 killings in 2012 and 142 the year after, the report said.

This peak was "followed by a gradual fall and then historically low figures from 2019 onwards".

Putin's influence

But deaths increased again in 2022, in part because of the war in Ukraine. So far this year, 58 journalists have been killed doing their jobs, up from 51 in 2021.

Eight journalists have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February. This compares to a total of 12 media deaths there over the preceding 19 years.


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