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IFJ records 94 deaths among media workers in 2018

2 January 2019

The International Federation of Journalists’ annual list of media workers killed doing their job shows that 84 journalists, camera operators, fixers and technicians died in targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross-fire incidents.

Ten other media staff members who worked as drivers, protection officers and a sales assistant also lost their lives. Six women were among the 94 victims. There were three work-related accidental deaths.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) 29th list shows a reverse in the downward trend of media killings in the past three years and a slight increase up from 82 killings recorded for 2017. It paints a worrying picture of a crisis in journalist safety across the globe.

Afghanistan, Mexico, Yemen and Syria topped the killing fields for media workers in 2018.

The list includes Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist and Saudi national, tortured and murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, the media professionals killed in bombing attacks and those caught up in the reign of violence by organised crime in Mexico which remains firmly trained on journalists. It includes the five journalists and media personnel of Capital Gazette, a Maryland daily, who were gunned down by a disgruntled individual who had lost a defamation case against the publication.

Philippe Leruth, IFJ president, said:

“These brazen acts of violence in utter disregard to human life have brought to an abrupt end the short-lived decrease in journalists’ killings recorded over the past three years. Once again, the IFJ is asking United Nations' members states to adopt at their general assembly the Convention on the Security and Protection of Journalists which the IFJ presented to diplomatic missions at the UN in New York last October. This convention, supported by the profession, is a concrete response to crimes committed against journalists in full impunity.”

Armed conflict and militant extremism account for most journalists’ killings in countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen; there was a steep drop in violence against journalists in Iraq last year since armed groups lost ground in the country. But there were other factors such as the increasing intolerance to independent reporting, populism, rampant corruption and crime as well as the breakdown of law and order afflicting countries in so-called peace time such as India, Pakistan and the Philippines. These factors contribute to perpetuating an environment in which, consistently, there are more journalists killed for covering their communities, cities and countries than for reporting in armed zones.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

“The numbers on this list are a sad reminder that the safety of journalists will remain elusive as long as countries boasting institutions which should be enforcing the law but have been paralysed by corruption and incompetence in the face of unrelenting assault on journalism. As such, they stand as a damning indictment of the authorities for their failure to uphold the journalists’ right to their physical safety and to guarantee an informed public discourse in a democracy.”

According to IFJ records for 2018, the Asia Pacific has the highest killing tally with 32, followed by the Americas on 27 killings, the Middle East and the Arab World recording 20. Africa comes fourth with eleven killings before Europe on four.

As of 27 December 2018, the IFJ has recorded the following cases of killings:

  • 94 targeted, bomb attacks and cross-fire killings.
  • 3 accidents and natural disasters related deaths.

Total number of deaths, 97

Countries with the highest numbers of media killings are:

  • 16 Afghanistan
  • 11 Mexico
  • 9 Yemen
  • 8 Syria
  • 7 India
  • 5 Pakistan
  • 5 Somalia
  • 5 USA 
  • 3 Philippines
  • 3 Ecuador 
  • 3 Brazil
  • 2 Colombia 
  • 2 Palestine
  • 2 Guatemala

Donate or ask your branch or chapel to make a donation to the IFJ’s Safety Fund which is a lifeline for journalists facing violence, persecution and threat or needing medical treatment. It offers financial assistance to media workers and their families in a range of emergency cases.

Tags: , ifj, international federation of journalists, journalists killed, deaths, afghanistan, mexico, yemen, international