IFJ mourns 49 killed journalists in 2019
The NUJ mourned Lyra McKee - © kelvin boyes
31 December 2019
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has recorded 49 killings of journalists and media professionals in 2019, a significant drop from 95 posted last year.
The federation said that while the apparent decreasing bloodbath in the journalists’ community is a welcome relief, the spread of killings and the motives behind the killings were sobering reminders that violence against journalists was still rampant and the failure to combat impunity for these attacks remained a damning indictment on those in power.
The IFJ lists 18 countries where journalist were killed since the start of the year: including Africa (9); Asia Pacific (12); Europe (2); Latin America (18); and the Middle East and Arab world (8). The Federation also recorded six work-related accidental deaths in Tanzania (5) and the United States (1).
The death toll is the lowest since 2000, when 37 journalists and media staff were killed, but the causes of the loss of life during 2019 remained largely the same. Mexico tops the list of dangerous countries with 10 killings of journalists whose reporting crossed corrupt officials and drug barons, while targeted attacks claimed the lives of five journalists in Afghanistan and four in Pakistan.
Crossfire incidents and bomb attacks caused deaths of journalists in Syria (5), Somalia (3) and Yemen (2). More of their colleagues died in violence from civil and political unrest or because of them reporting these events in Haiti (1), Nigeria (1) the Philippines (1) and Northern Ireland (1).
Younes Mjahed, IFJ president, said:
“This low figure should be a lifting moment for those who joined the campaign for the safety of journalists, which the IFJ has spearheaded over decades. Yet, it gives little comfort when our report’s findings consistently reveal that more journalists are killed in so-called peace time for reporting corruption, crime and abuse of power in their own countries than in war zones. The failure by governments to stop the impunity for these crimes needs to be addressed through the Convention on media safety we are promoting.”
The statistics on journalists and media staff killed in 2019 are as follows:
- Targeted, bomb attacks and cross-fire killings, 49.
- Accidental deaths, 6.
- Total number of deaths, 55.
Countries with the highest numbers of media killings:
- Afghanistan :5
- Syria: 5
- Pakistan: 4
- Somalia: 3
- Yemen: 2
- Philippines: 2
- Brazil: 2
- Haiti: 2
- Honduras: 2