CPJ: 53 journalists killed
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Translation: Fairpress

Author: Fairpress editorial

According to a special report of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published on 19 December 2018, a total of 53 journalists were killed in the period from 1 January to 14 December 2018. 34 out of these 53 were singled out for murder. Namely, it is important to emphasize that the CPJ keeps track of three types of journalistic deaths that occur during their work, they are: reprisal murders; deaths in combat or crossfire and deaths on other dangerous assignments, such as covering protests that turn violent.

The number of journalists targeted for murder in reprisal for their reporting nearly doubled in 2018 compared to the previous year, which increased the total number of killed journalists on the job.

The report also states that the recent rise in killings came after two years of decline, but the number of imprisoned journalists has reached a very high level and continues, which has led to a deep global crisis with regard to media freedom. As reported in the special CPJ report, the context of the crisis is complex and closely tied to technology changes that have enabled more people to do journalism even as it has made journalists expendable to the political and criminal groups that once needed the media to spread their message.

The lack of international leadership on journalists’ rights and safety is also a significant factor. The most illustrative example of this is the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul in Octobe who was allegedly killed by Saudi agents. The report also recalls the murders of journalists from the Capital Gazette in the US state of Maryland when an armed attacker shot and killed five journalists and associates.

In Europe, Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancé as well as Malta journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia were killed. They were killed due to their work (reprisal murder).

The deadliest country for journalists in 2018 was Afghanistan. As reported in the CPJ report, the 13 journalists killed in Afghanistan in 2018 was the highest number of journalists killed in any year

since the CPJ began tracking journalists’ deaths – including 2001, when the US attacked that country and nine journalists were killed.

It is important to emphasize that if the motives in a killing are unclear, but it is possible that a journalist died in relation to his or her work, CPJ classifies the case as “unconfirmed” and continues to investigate. So, as said in the report, the CPJ is investigating the killing of another 23 journalists in 2018, but so far has not been able to confirm that the motive was journalism in those cases.

Other findings of the CPJ research are:

  • Seven media workers were killed in 2018, including two each in Afghanistan and Yemen.
  • Three women were killed, compared with eight last year. Historically, about 7 percent of journalists killed are women.
  • Five foreign journalists were killed during the year: two Ecuadorans were murdered in Colombia (along with their driver) and three Russians were killed in mysterious circumstances in the Central African Republic.
  • Political groups, which includes extremists like Islamic State, were the most frequent suspected perpetrators, in 53 percent of cases.
  • Politics was the most dangerous beat, covered by 62 percent of journalists killed.
  • Broadcast reporter was most dangerous job.

CPJ began compiling records on all journalist deaths in 1992. CPJ’s database of journalists killed in 2018 includes reports on each victim and filters for examining trends in the data. CPJ also maintains a database of all journalists who have been killed since 1992 and those who have gone missing or are imprisoned for their work.

It should be emphasized that the CPJ’s list of murdered journalists does not include journalists who have died in the event of illness or in car or plane accident except in cases where the accident was caused by hostile action. This is important to emphasize because other journalistic organizations use different criteria when counting the number of dead journalists.

Read more details from the report here.


This article was created with the support of the Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity of Electronic Media within the project “Media Reality” – Developing and Encouraging the Media Literacy Programme



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