Killings and detentions of journalists on the rise – RSF

57 journalists have been killed in 2022, 533 detained and another 65 held hostage, the annual roundup of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows.

19% increase in journalist killings

The number of journalists killed in connection with their work is on the rise again.

After two years of historically low figures, the number of journalists who paid with their lives for their commitment rose by almost 19% to 57 in 2022, versus 48 in 2021 and 50 in 2020, Reporters Without Borders said.

The riskiest stories to cover in 2022 were war and conflict zone coverage (20 killed), organised crime (13) and corruption (12).

Mexico (11 killed), Ukraine (8) and Haiti (6) were the most dangerous countries.

One of the most extensively covered journalist murders this year was the killing Shireen Abu Akleh, a well-known Al Jazeera reporter who was shot dead while covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Although several independent investigations concluded that the journalist was deliberately shot by the Israel Defence Forces, the IDF has so far refused to accept culpability and identify the person responsible”, RSF said.

533 jailed around the globe

Last year’s record of detained journalists has been broken again, the international organisation said, with a total of 533 journalist being held for doing their job as of 1 December.

More than half of the world’s imprisoned journalists are held in five countries. Those five biggest jailers are China (110 jailed), Myanmar (62), Iran (47), Vietnam (39) and Belarus (31).

RSF pointed out that Iran became the world’s third biggest jailer after just a month of the ongoing protests in the country.

Among the most noteworthy cases in 2022, the organisation has named Wikileaks-Founder Julian Assange, who is facing the heaviest sentence of anyone targeted in connection with journalism this year – a possible total of 175 years in prison if the United States succeeds in securing his extradition from the UK.

“Dictatorial and authoritarian regimes are filling their prisons faster than ever by jailing journalists. This new record in the number of detained journalists confirms the pressing and urgent need to resist these unscrupulous governments”, RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire said.

Islamic State is leading hostage taker

At least 65 journalists and media workers are currently being held hostage around the world, with 64 of them being held in the three Middle East countries Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The ‘Islamic States’ leads the list of hostage takers, currently holding 28 journalists, followed by al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, Turkish-backed groups and autonomous Kurdish authorities.


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