Rabat - While performing their job, 65 journalists were killed, 326 were jailed, 54 are currently held hostage and two are reported missing, worldwide in 2017. These chilling figures were uncovered by media freedom organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in its annual round up released this Tuesday.
Rabat – While performing their job, 65 journalists were killed, 326 were jailed, 54 are currently held hostage and two are reported missing, worldwide in 2017. These chilling figures were uncovered by media freedom organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in its annual round up released this Tuesday.
A total of 65 journalists, including media professionals and workers and citizen-journalists were killed this year. According to RSF, “26 were killed in the course of their work,” collateral victims of deadly situations.
“The other 39 were murdered,” says RSP, explaining that these journalists were deliberately targeted because their reporting “threatened political, economic, or criminal interests.”
“The aime in each case was to silence them,” adds the organization.
Still, 2017 death toll is 18 percent less from 2016 figures, where it stood at 79 killed journalists, 60 percent of which were murdered. RSF noted that 2017 has been “the least deadly year for professional journalists in 14 years.”
This downward trend is due at least in part to journalists giving up working in the world’s deadliest spots. Countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya “have been haemorrhaging journalists,” explain RSF.
According to the media organization, the danger on journalists’ life is not limited to war zones. In Mexico, “many journalists have either fled abroad or abandoned journalism,” as the criminal cartels and local politicians “have imposed a reign of terror,” notes RSF.
“It’s alarming that so many journalists were murdered outside of war zones,” said Katja Gloger, a board member of Reporters Without Borders.
“In far too many countries perpetrators can assume they’ll get off scot-free if they’re violent towards media professionals,” she added.
Morocco against the current
As of December 1, 2017, 326 journalists were detained worldwide while carrying out their reporting duties. While this figure is less than that of 2016, when 348 journalists were jailed, some countries incarcerated a higher number of reporters than usual.
Morocco is at the top of that list. RSF makes case for Hamid El Mahdaoui, four citizen-journalists and three media workers who are currently detained in connection to the Rif protests.
In comparison to 2016, “not a single journalist was detained in Morocco,” adds RSF.
The kingdom is not the only country swimming against the current. In Russia, “pressure in growing on independent media and investigative journalists who cover subjects such as corruption,” explain RSF.
Five journalists and one blogger are currently being detained in the Russian Federation.
Meanwhile, Turkey stands as the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists. Currently, 42 journalists and one media worker are being detained in the country.
“Criticizing the government, working for a “suspect” media outlet, contacting a sensitive source or even just using an encrypted messaging service all constitute grounds for jailing journalists on “terrorism” charges,” writes RSF.
Provisional detention is the most common punishment reserved by Turkey to journalists, as most of the detainees are yet to be convicted. According to RSF, “such arbitrary measures” are not limited to local journalist, as foreign reporters are also being served the same treatment.
“A young French reporter, Loup Bureau, was held for 51 days in the summer. French photographer Mathias Depardon was held for a month in the spring before being expelled,” cites the media organization.