A+ A-

IFJ: 81 media staff killed in 2017

BRUSSELS, Dec 31 (KUNA) -- The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Sunday reported that 81 journalists and media staff were killed in targeted killings, car bomb attacks and crossfire incidents around the world during 2017.
The number is 12 down from last year's death tally of 93, making 2017 among the least deadly in a decade, said the IFJ in a press release today.
The IFJ welcomed the drop in loss of life among journalists and media staff, partly due to there being fewer flash points in previously highly volatile places and partly to the loss of ground by some armed groups, which reduced journalists' proximity to the frontline in combat zones.
In Yemen, until the split between late President Ali Saleh and the Houthi rebels, there was a stalemate on ground battle between warring factions for most of the year and journalists were less exposed to attacks and risks, including crossfire incidents.
In addition, the so-called Islamic State (IS) spent the year on the defensive in Syria and Iraq, further reducing the extent of their proximity and contact with media professionals in areas previously under IS-control.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger commented "we welcome the fact that this year has been the least deadly in a decade for journalists, but there is no room for complacency.
"In Syria, Mexico and India killings continue at frightening levels. More women journalists have been murdered, impunity for killings still runs at over 90 percent, self-censorship remains widespread and more journalists are in jail than at any time in recent years," he noted.
On his part, IFJ President Philippe Leruth welcomed the reduction, saying, "While this represents a downward trend, the levels of violence in journalism remain unacceptably high." Two women journalists, Kim Wall of Denmark and investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia of Malta, lost their lives in pursuit for the truth. Together with Gauri Lankesh of India, they were among the eight women journalists killed in 2017.
According to IFJ records, the Asia Pacific region has the highest killing tally with 26, followed by the Arab World and Middle East with 24 killings, the Americas with 17, Africa with eight and Europe with five killings.
The Brussels-based IFJ represents around 600,000 journalists across 146 countries worldwide. (end) nk.hb