The number of journalists who were killed in 2018 increased to 94 journalists, with Afghanistan leading the danger list.
Rabat – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has reported that 94 journalists were killed in 2018, an increase from 82 in 2017.
The IFJ said in its annual report released Monday that the 94 journalists and mediaworkers died in targeted killings, bomb attacks, and crossfire incidents.
Afghanistan tops the list of dangerous countries to practice journalism, with 16 murders. Mexico witnessed 11 killings, followed by Yemen with 9, and Syria with 8.
IJF President Philippe Leruth commented on the killings of the journalists and the repercussions on journalism.
“Journalists are targeted because they are witnesses,” Leruth was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. He added, “The result of this [is] when a journalist or many journalists are killed in a country, you see an increase of self-censorship.”
The list “paints a situation of on-going safety crisis in journalism, which was highlighted by the cruel murder of the Washington Post columnist and Saudi national, Jamal Khashoggi,” IFJ introduced the report.
Khashoggi, known for opposing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s policies, was killed by a team of Saudi agents in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
“Jamal Khashoggi was a very well-known figure, but you know, the most shocking statistic is that we know that nine of 10 journalist murders remain unpunished in the world,” the IFJ’s Leruth said.
More than half of the journalists killed induring 2018 were “deliberately targeted.”
348 journalists in prison
The media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on December 14 that “the deadly violence and abusive treatment of journalists show an unprecedented level of hostility towards media personnel.”
RSF noted that 348 journalists are currently in prison and 60 are being held hostage.
In the past two years, several Moroccan journalists have been prosecuted for expressing their opinions on certain laws or on human rights violations.
Another media rights group Committee to Protect Journalists, shared the same position as RSF.
It said in October that 324 journalists during the past decade had been “silenced through murder worldwide” and that no perpetrators had been convicted in more than 85 percent of those cases.
In 2006, 155 killings were reported, the highest number since the IFJ began its annual count in 1990. In the three years prior to 2018, the numbers had been in decline.