A total of 1,668 journalists have been killed worldwide in connection with their work over the past two decades (2003–2022), with murders, contract killings, ambushes, war zone deaths and fatal injuries. All on its annual round-up.
According to the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), on average more than 80 journalists are killed each year.
“Behind the figures are the faces, personalities, talents and commitment of people who have paid with their lives for their information gathering, search for the truth and their passion for journalism,” said RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire.
“In each of its annual round-ups, RSF continues to document unjustified violence that has specifically targeted media workers. This year’s end is a time to pay tribute to them and appeal for the utmost respect for the safety of journalists.” It’s time to work and bear witness to the realities of the world,” Deloire said.
The annual death toll peaked in 2012 and 2013 with 144 and 142 journalists killed, respectively. These peaks gradually declined, largely due to the war in Syria, and then to historically low figures from 2019 onwards.
According to RSF’s Press Freedom Barometer on 28 December, the number of journalists killed in connection with their work this year was 58, the highest in the last four years and 13.7 per cent more than in 2021. 80 per cent of media deaths have occurred in 15 countries during the past two decades.
The two countries with the highest death rates are Iraq and Syria, where a total of 578 journalists have been killed over the past 20 years, or more than a third of the worldwide total.
Then there are Afghanistan, Yemen and Palestine. Africa is not spared, Somalia is next.