“The deadliest country”… The murder of journalists has increased by 50 percent, and impunity continues

The number of journalists killed worldwide increased dramatically in 2022, after declining for the past three years, a new UNESCO report shows.

During the year 2022, 86 journalists and media professionals were killed in the world, equivalent to one person killed every four days, according to UNESCO data indicating “the great risks that journalists continue to face during their careers.”

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, called on the authorities to “resume their efforts to stop these crimes and ensure that the perpetrators are punished, because indifference is an important factor in this climate of violence,” described the findings in the report as “disturbing”.

According to UNESCO, this “sudden increase in the number of journalists killed during 2022 indicates a tragic reversal of the positive trend seen in recent years.”

The UNESCO Monitor of Journalist Murders indicated in a statement that “the number of journalists killed decreased from 99 in 2018 to approximately 58 journalists in the period from 2019 to 2021.”

“These figures draw attention to the growing gaps in justice systems around the world, and highlight the failure of states to fulfill their obligation to protect journalists, prevent crimes against them and prosecute perpetrators,” according to UNESCO.

Mexico’s deadliest

All regions of the world saw the murder of journalists, but Latin America and the Caribbean recorded the highest number of these crimes, as 44 journalists were killed in 2022, which is more than half of the number of murders in the world is.

The Asia-Pacific region recorded 16 murders, while Eastern Europe recorded 11 murders.

The highest number of such crimes occurred in Mexico, with 19 murders, Ukraine, with 10 murders, and Haiti, with nine murders. Half of the journalists died while off duty

target method

Almost half of the journalists killed were targeted outside their working hours, whether they were on the move, at home, in the parking lot or other public places where they were for reasons not related to their work; This is a continuing trend in recent years, and indicates that there are no safe places for journalists even in their free time, according to UNESCO.

And while the number of journalists killed in conflict zones rose to 23 in 2022 compared to 20 last year, the global increase in the number of journalist murders occurred in non-conflict zones, where the number almost doubled from 35 cases in 2021 to 61 cases in 2022, the equivalent of three-quarters of the murders that occurred in the past year.

The motives behind these crimes were multiple, including retaliation for reporting on organized crime, armed conflict, or the rise of extremism, and coverage of sensitive topics such as corruption, environmental crimes, abuse of power and protests.

Impunity continues

“Despite some progress on the issue of impunity in the last five years, the rates of impunity for murders committed against journalists are still shockingly high, amounting to 86 percent of crimes, instilling fear among journalists and freedom of expression threatened.” endangered worldwide. ”, reports UNESCO.

“This proves that the fight against impunity remains an urgent requirement for which international cooperation efforts must be further mobilized.”

Journalists continue to be exposed to various forms of violence in addition to murder, ranging from enforced disappearance, kidnapping and arbitrary detention, legal harassment and digital violence, especially against women journalists.

The UNESCO Report on Global Trends in Freedom of Expression for 2021/2022 highlights these challenges, noting that anti-defamation laws, cyber laws and anti-“fake news” legislation are sometimes used as a pretext to limit freedom of speech, which transforms the work environment for journalists into a toxic environment.

It is worth noting that the year 2022 was one of the worst years for press freedom and the safety of journalists around the world, after setting records that have not been monitored by indicators for almost 30 years, according to reports by human rights and professional organizations in this respect .

This debilitating reality prompted United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to say earlier that journalists and media workers face “increasing politicization of their work” and threats, which are increasing day by day, regarding their freedom to perform their work. smoothly, on International Freedom Day the press.

While the director-general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said at the same event that more than five out of six people in the world live in a country that has recorded a decline in press freedom in the last five years.

And it was issued in mid-December 2022 by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and revealed that the number of imprisoned journalists in the world reached the highest number over the past thirty years, reaching 363 journalists, against 1 December, 2022, which represents a record number and represents an increase of 20 percent from 2021.

The annual count of violations committed against journalists around the world, published by “Reporters Without Borders”, recorded an even greater record, as the number of detainees among media actors reached 533, during the year 2022. The organization also no less than 65 documented hostages and 49 journalists among them. the missing.

Reporters Without Borders revealed another record in 2022, related to the detention of female journalists in particular, as 78 female journalists are currently behind bars, which is an unprecedented increase of approximately 30 percent over the past twelve months, and note that women now make up 15 percent. of the population percent of the total detained journalists, while five years ago this percentage did not reach 7 percent.

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