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2018 was worst year for violence and abuse against journalists – report

The hiving off of national assets should not be accompanied by the hiving off of our press freedoms to foreign jurisdictions.

Journalists have never been subjected to as much violence and abusive treatment as in 2018, according to a report by Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) annual roundup.

Every year Reporters Without Borders (RSF) compiles an annual round-up of abusive treatment and deadly violence against journalists as a direct result of their journalistic work. The report states that murders, imprisonment, hostage-taking and disappearances of journalists worldwide have all increased.

Eighty journalists were killed this year, 348 languish in a prison, and another 60 are being held hostage, according to the data presented by RSF which said it showed an unprecedented level of hostility towards people working in the media.

“The hatred of journalists that is voiced, and sometimes very openly proclaimed, by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and this has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

Last April, RSF had already expressed alarm over an increased level of hostility towards the media encouraged by politicians, as well as efforts by authoritarian regimes to ‘export their alternative vision of journalism’.

RSF, the organisation behind the World Press Freedom Index, proactively assists journalists, media outlets and press freedom NGOs by providing protection, legal assistance, and capacity building besides monitoring abuses and acts of violence against journalists and informing the public about them.

It has also been campaigning for the appointment of a special representative of the UN secretary-general for the protection of journalists since 2012.

Read the full report here.

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