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World

Journalist murders double in 2020, claims CPJ report

  • At least 30 journalists were killed between January 1 and December 15.
  • Mexico was the deadliest country for journalist in the year, followed by Syria, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
24 Dec 2020

A new report claims that the number of journalists murdered for work doubled in 2020, as criminal gangs and militant groups sought to silence reporting with violence.

As per the report by press freedom organization the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 30 journalists were killed between January 1 and December 15. Out of the number, 21 were murdered, which is 10 more as compared to 2019.

Others were killed in crossfire or while on assignment, said the report.

Mexico was the deadliest country for journalist in the year, followed by Syria, Afghanistan and the Philippines.

The numbers do not include the assassination of a prominent Afghan journalist in eastern Ghazni province. Rahmatullah Nikzad, who was head of a local press union, is the fifth journalist to be killed in Afghanistan in the past two months.

The report found that Cartels, criminal groups and militants in democratic but violent countries account for the doubling of murders.

Mexico and the Philippines have mechanisms in place that are supposed to improve journalist safety.

A failure to secure prosecutions in journalist killings adds to the problem, said Courtney Radsch, advocacy director at CPJ.

“Nobody is typically held accountable, and there are not meaningful investigations into a lot of these murders,” Radsch said.

“It just sends a signal that reporters are expendable, and you don't really need to worry because no one's going to hold you accountable.”

As per the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which keeps the track of journalist killings, said that Mexico and the Philippines have consistently topped the list of most dangerous countries for journalists. It said since 1990, 2,658 journalists have been killed, 175 in Mexico and 159 in the Philippines.

As of 2020, at least four journalists were targeted for murder, while another journalist was shot while reporting from a crime scene in Mexico.

Meanwhile, at least three journalists were murdered in retaliation for their work in 2020 in the Philippines.

Sagaga of IFJ said when journalists are silenced, all of society misses out.

We need people to be brave enough to continue exposing corruption, exposing crime,” he said.

U.S. lawmakers have introduced draft legislation that would hold countries that commit rights abuses against journalists accountable via sanctions and restrictions on foreign aid.

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