2023 "one of the worst years" for killing of journalists says IFJ

  • 14 May 2024

70% of journalists' deaths in 2023 occurred in war in Gaza

Last year was among the deadliest for journalists since the International Federation of Journalists started its Killing List over three decades ago.

The IFJ’s 33rd annual report on the deaths of journalists and media staff confirmed the deaths of 129 media professionals, including 14 women.

One of the 129 died in an accident and the rest of them were killed and the report notes that the death toll soared from 7 October, with 70% of deaths in 2023 occurring in the war in Gaza.

The IFJ also reported that the Middle East and the Arab world is by far the deadliest region in the world with 93 killings registered.

Of these, 83 were in Palestine, four in Israel and three in Lebanon, following the 7 October start of the war in Gaza. Three further deaths were recorded  in Syria. 

In addition to the terrible mortality rate among journalists in the Gaza war, media professionals continue to be murdered elsewhere in the world.

In 2023, 12 journalists were killed in Asia-Pacific, 11 in the Americas and eight  in Africa – plus one accidental killing in Rwanda – and four deaths in Europe.  

The IFJ released an initial list of journalists killed ahead of UN Human Rights day on 8 December and a final list on 31 December.

Today’s publication reveals that the further increase in the total is the result of investigations into the deaths of journalists in Gaza. At the beginning of 2024, the federation was able to verify eight more cases of local journalists killed in the enclave at the end of 2023 and add them to the annual report. 

The IFJ report also recorded there were 427 journalists and media workers held behind bars in 2023. China (80) is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, followed by Myanmar (51), Turkey (41), the Russian Federation (40) and Belarus (35).  

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “While we always remind journalists that no story is worth their life, there are too many situations where they are deliberately targeted to cover up stories and restrict the public’s right to know.

"It is a democratic right of citizens to be duly informed; it is governments’ responsibility to ensure journalists are protected to report independently. The deadly figures from this year illustrate how badly we need an international binding instrument forcing states to adopt key mechanisms to protect journalists’ safety and independence”

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