At least 109 journalists and media workers were slain by ‘targeted killings, bomb attacks, and cross-fire incidents,’ new report finds
Journalists and media workers continue to confront relentless pressure as they do their jobs, according to a survey of the verified incidents reported to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project. Image via X-Index.
From targeted bombings to fatal crossfire, the year 2015 was violent and deadly for journalists around the world, particularly those based in the Americas and Middle East, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said Friday.
According to a survey by the organization, at least 109 journalists and media workers were slain by “targeted killings, bomb attacks, and cross-fire incidents.”
While the Charlie Hebdo media workers killed in 2015 perhaps had the highest profile, the plurality of those struck down were lesser-known nationals of the Americas (27) followed by the Middle East (25), Asia-Pacific (21), and Africa (19).
Joel Aquiles Torres, owner of the Honduran TV station Canal 67, was one of those killed. He was “shot dead while driving his car in Taulabe in the department of Comayagua on 3 of July,” according to UNESCO.
Ali al-Ansari, an Iraqi journalist for Al-Ghadeer, was killed “while covering fighting between the Iraqi security forces and militants of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in the Muqdadiyah area north of Baghdad,” IFJ reports.
“Sadly, there were scores of unreported killings, and unless the journalist is a well-known by-lined correspondent the world barely notices,” said IFJ president Jim Boumelha in a statement accompanying the report.
“Journalism is put daily to the sword in many regions of the world,” Boumelha continued, “where extremists, drug lords and reckless warring factions continue murdering journalists with impunity.”
The IFJ’s findings follow a separate round-up released earlier this week by Reporters Without Borders, known by their French acronym RSF.
According to RSF, which uses different criteria to establish their conclusions, at least 110 journalists around the world were killed in 2015 “in connection with their work or for unclear reasons.” The organization said it can definitively conclude that 67 of those people were “targeted because of their work or were killed while reporting.”
Most journalists directly targeted, or killed for unclear reasons, hailed from Iraq, Syria, France, Yemen, and South Sudan respectively, RSF revealed.
The organization noted that the majority of journalists knowingly killed in 2015—64 percent—were struck down outside of what is recognized as an official war zone. What’s more, last year’s grim tally brought the number of journalists killed since 2005 to 787.
While IFJ and RSF both reached slightly varying conclusions, both organizations agree that journalists across the globe are inadequately protected.
According to Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, the organization’s reports over the last quarter century “have clearly shown that journalists and media staff have become easy targets because there is very little respect for national and international laws that are supposed to protect them.”
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