CPJ, RSF say more Journalists Killed in 2018

CPJ, RSF say more Journalists Killed in 2018

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF) say more journalists were killed in 2018. According to CPJ report, 53 journalists were killed around the world in 2018, a three-year high that included a nearly two-fold increase in the number of reporters singled out for murder with the number of journalists killed

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF) say more journalists were killed in 2018. According to CPJ report, 53 journalists were killed around the world in 2018, a three-year high that included a nearly two-fold increase in the number of reporters singled out for murder with the number of journalists killed in combat or cross fire being the lowest since 2011.

The RSF report, which includes professional and non-professional members of the media, says 80 journalists were killed, 348 detained, 60 held hostage and three missing in 2018

The total number of journalist deaths between Jan. 1 and Dec. 14 was up from 47 killed in 2017 and 50 in 2016. The CPJ said it tracks three types of deaths on the job — reprisal murders (34 in 2018), deaths in combat or crossfire (11), and deaths on other dangerous assignments like covering violent protests (eight). The organization also noted a nearly double increase of reprisal murders from 18 in 2017 to 34 in 2018.

“The recent uptick in killings follows two years of decline, but comes as the jailing of journalists hits a sustained high — adding up to a profound global crisis of press freedom,” the CPJ said in the report.

The organization blamed a lack of international leadership on journalists’ rights and safety for the uptick in deaths and imprisonment in 2018, citing the death of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi in October.

Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who lived in self-imposed exile in the United States, wrote columns sharply critical of the Saudi government. He was killed after entering the Saudi Embassy in Turkey.

Though the CIA blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for ordering Khashoggi’s death, President Donald Trump prevaricated over the issue, declining to implicate Mohammed, saying “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t” have knowledge of the plan. Trump who was entrapped by the Saudi $110 billion defence contract envisaged to generate 600,000 jobs said he could not disparage a key ally over the murder of journalists.

The CPJ said that even though Turkey has taken the most vocal stance against Khashoggi’s death, the country “has effectively shut down the independent media and is jailing more journalists than any other around the world for the third consecutive year.”

Also adding to the number of targeted murders was the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., which left four journalists and a sales associate dead. It was the deadliest attack on U.S. media in recent history.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, 13 journalists were killed, the most in any year since the CPJ began keeping track in 1992.

The number of journalists killed in combat or crossfire was the lowest since 2011, something the CPJ attributed to a lack of access to combat zones and media outlets shying away growing risks.

The CPJ was however still investigating the deaths of another 23 journalists in 2018, though it has so far been unable to confirm that their motives were based on journalism.

In another report released Tuesday, Reporters Without Borders, more popularly known as  Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF) said more journalists were killed or faced violence in 2018 than in any other year on record. The organization’s report, which included professional and non-professional members of the media, said 80 journalists were killed, 348 detained, 60 held hostage and three missing in 2018.

“Violence against journalists has reached unprecedented levels this year, and the situation is now critical,” RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire said.

“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 has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists.”

The CPJ also said 253 journalists were imprisoned in 2018. According to the report, 53 journalists including Editor of Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari were killed this year.

“Several unidentified gunmen fired at Shujaat Bukhari, 50, outside his office as he was leaving for an iftar party (the meal that breaks the Ramadan fast), according to media reports. He suffered injuries to the head and abdomen. Two police officers, who had been assigned to protect him after an attack in 2000, were also fired. All three were rushed to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital where they died,” the report states. In another reports, the CPJ has stated that 251 journalists have been imprisoned in relation to their work in various countries.

“Police detained Aasif Sultan, a journalist with the monthly magazine Kashmir Narrator, during a raid on his home in Srinagar on the night of August 27, 2018. Jammu and Kashmir police formally arrested him on August 31, according to a police statement seen by CPJ, and later charged him with “complicity” in “harboring known militants” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The charges stem from his name being added to a First Information Report–the primary step in an Indian police investigation–filed in response to a gunfight in the Batamaloo region of Kashmir on August 12,” the report states.

The report states that the past three years have recorded the highest number of jailed journalists since CPJ began keeping track, with consecutive records set in 2016 and 2017. Turkey, China, and Egypt were responsible for more than half of those jailed around the world for the third year in a row.

“The majority of those imprisoned globally–70 percent–are facing anti-state charges such as belonging to or aiding groups deemed by authorities as terrorist organizations. The number imprisoned on charges of false news rose to 28 globally, compared with nine just two years ago. Egypt jailed the most journalists on false news charges with 19, followed by Cameroon with four, Rwanda with three, and one each in China and Morocco. The increase comes amid heightened global rhetoric about “fake news,” of which U.S. President Donald Trump is the leading voice.”

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