2016, a deadly year for journalists

  • By Samira Sulayman

2016 saw 93 officially recorded murders of journalists during the course of their work

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The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned this year’s level of violence against journalists as deplorable.

Though the number is lower than previous years, the IFJ warned against complacency and continued impunity. Legal justice has been served for just 4% of journalists killed worldwide this year.

“Any decrease in violence against journalist and media personnel is always welcome but these figures … leave little room for comfort and reinforce hopes for the end of the security crisis in the media sector.” IFJ president Philippe Leruth said in a statement.

“There cannot be impunity for these crimes.”

Regionally the Middle East was the deadliest this year with 30 killings, followed by Asia-Pacific with 28, Latin America with 24, Africa with 8 and Europe with 3, the watchdog revealed.

IFJ said it was aware that there many more journalists who had disappeared through the course of the year.

“The numbers could be higher if it weren’t for lack of credible information on these missing cases and for the self-censorship by journalists in some countries to avoid drawing the unwelcome attention of crime barons.” added IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger.

“There is therefore urgency in pressing governments to investigate all forms of violence, including killings and disappearances in a speedy and credible manner to protect the physical integrity and professional independence of journalists.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), based in New York, said in a report earlier in December that impunity fostered acts of self-censorship. Many journalists were being intimidated into exile or being to forced withdraw from the field completely.

The CPJ cited the independent Pakistan Press Foundation who in in November said:”Threats and violence have forced many journalists to move from these danger zones and to leave the profession or to resort to self-censorship, particularly in conflict areas.”

The CPJ said Syria was the deadliest country for journalists in 2016, followed by Iraq and Yemen. Whilst the IFJ maintains Afghanistan, Iraq and Mexico topped the list.

The number of journalists who have been killed in Syria since the war began in 2011 is now at least 107 confirmed, purposefully targeted murders.

Globally a journalist is murdered every 3 days

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