45 journalists and media staff killed in work-related incidents during 2021, says IFJ
Since 1991, according to the International Federation of Journalists, 2,721 journalists have been killed around the world.
The IFJ has published its annual list of journalists and media professionals, which reports 45 killings during 2021 in 20 countries, a drop from 65 killings recorded last year in 2020.
The figure represents one of the lowest death tolls since the IFJ began publishing annual reports on journalists killed in work-related incidents, including targeted killings, crossfire fatalities as well as bomb attacks. The Asia Pacific region tops the regional list with 20 killings, before the Americas (10), Africa (8), Europe (6) and the Middle East and Arab World on just one. There was also a deadly accident which cost the lives of two journalists in Iran.
While this decrease is welcome news, it is small comfort in the face of continued violence which claimed lives of journalists in countries such as Afghanistan (9), Mexico (8), India (4) and Pakistan (3).
It also provides further evidence that journalists and media workers more often than not are killed for exposing corruption, crime and abuse of power in their communities, cities and countries.
The risks associated with armed conflict have reduced in recent years due to limited exposure for media professionals who are increasingly fewer in reporting close-up from war theatre. At the same time, the threats of crime gang and drug cartels’ rule from the slums in Mexico to the streets of European cities in Greece and the Netherlands continue to increase and account for many targeted killings of media workers in 2021.
Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:
“These 45 colleagues we lost to violence this year remind us of the terrible sacrifice journalists across the world continue to pay for serving the public interest and we remain in the debt to them and thousands of others who paid the ultimate price.
"The IFJ believes that the only tribute fit for the cause to which they gave their lives should be unrelenting pursuit for justice to them. That’s why we continue to advocate for the adoption of a new United Nations Convention for the protection of journalists which would ensure accountability for journalists’ killings.”