Ninety-four journalists killed in 2023, says IFJ 

  • 08 Dec 2023

Publishing ahead of International Human Rights Day, on the 10th December, the International Federation of Journalists insists that far greater action is required from the international community to safeguard journalists’ lives and hold to account their attackers.

The International Federation of Journalists has recorded that 94 journalists and media workers, including 9 women, have been killed in 2023. Since 7 October, more than one journalist a day has lost their lives during the war in Gaza, a scale and pace of loss of media professionals’ lives without precedent. 

Credit: IFJ

This year, like 2022, was marked by the deaths of journalists in war. In 2023  Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip have been the victims of indiscriminate bombing by the Israeli army. The IFJ calls on international authorities to ensure that international law is respected and to put an end to the massacre of journalists in Gaza. “The international community, and more particularly the International Criminal Court, must face up to its responsibilities and thoroughly investigate, and where appropriate bring prosecutions to those who have ordered and carried out attacks on journalists,” says the IFJ.

The war in Gaza has been more deadly for journalists than any single conflict since the IFJ began recording journalists killed in the line of duty in 1990. The IFJ has recorded 68 journalists killed since the Hamas attack on 7 October. “This year, 72 per cent of journalists killed worldwide have been killed in the Gaza conflict,” the federation records. 

Sixty-one Palestinian journalists were killed in the Gaza strip. Four Israeli journalists were killed in the first hours of the Hamas attack on 7 October: two during the Supernova music festival and two were murdered in the kibbutzes of Nahal Oz and Kfar Aza. Three Lebanese journalists were killed on 13 October and 21 November in Israeli shootings while filming a report on the border between the two countries.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the IFJ counts 3 media workers killed in Syria.

In Europe, Ukraine remains a dangerous country for journalists. This year three journalists and media workers - Ukrainian (1), Russian (1)  and French (1) - have been killed in the Ukrainian war.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the murders of journalists are concentrated in the same countries as in previous years. Even if the number of journalists killed remains lower than in 2022, the IFJ is concerned about the safety of journalists on the continent. Whether in Afghanistan (2), the Philippines (2), India (1), China (1) or Bangladesh (1), the federation denounces the failure to hold the perpetrators to account.. The IFJ calls on governments in the region to investigate these murders and to put in place measures to ensure the safety of journalists.

The IFJ notes a real decrease in the number of journalists killed  in North and South America; 29 journalists lost their lives in 2022 just seven did in 2023. Three Mexicans, one Paraguayan, one Guatemalan, one Colombian and one American  died while investigating armed groups or embezzlement of public funds. Many other crimes against journalists remain unpunished in the region, the Federation warns, for example, 95 per cent of attacks on journalists in Mexico do not result in prosecutions. 

In Africa, the IFJ deplores four particularly shocking murders in Cameroon (2), Sudan (1) and Lesotho (1) which have failed to be fully investigated to date. 

Dominique Pradalié, IFJ president said: 

"In 2023, 94 journalists lost their lives. The IFJ demands urgent global action to halt this bloodshed. The surge in fatalities, particularly in Gaza, necessitates immediate attention. The IFJ insists that international law is applied, particularly in the Gaza war, where journalists have been targeted by the Israeli army. With 72% of global journalist deaths occurring in the Gaza war, the requirement for decisive action is urgent. The imperative for a new global standard for the protection of journalists and effective international enforcement has never been greater."

393 journalists and media workers jailed

In 2023, the IFJ's list of imprisoned journalists casts light on a continuum of political repression in countries, from China to Belarus, from Egypt to Iran, including Myanmar, Turkey and Russia with a significant increase of jailed journalists recorded in the last three years. Such judicial bullying is clearly designed to silence the media and suppress demonstrations in favour of freedom. Journalists continue to be among the first victims of this repression, with a record of 393 journalists and media workers currently behind bars. 

China and Hong Kong top the list with 80 journalists in jail, followed by Myanmar (54), Turkey (41), Russia and occupied Crimea (40), Belarus (35), Egypt (23), Vietnam (18), Saudi Arabia (11), India (10) and Syria (9).

Download the list of journalists killed in 2023.

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