Journalists soft targets for killers

Journalists at work on the front line. Photo from

Journalists at work on the front line. Photo from

Brussels [AP]

In the last quarter century, at least 2,297 journalists and media staff have been killed for doing nothing more than trying to inform the world on war, revolution, crime and corruption.

The annual total stood at 40 in the federation’s first year of counting, 1990, but has not dipped under the 100-mark since 2010, the International Federation of Journalists reveals in a new report.

‘The last ten years were the most dangerous,’ said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger in an interview, with 2006 the worst year of all with 155 killed.

And despite vows of protection from as high as the United Nations, the IFJ said it produced the report to underscore a worsening climate of impunity which has helped killers get away with murder and turn journalists into soft targets.

‘The IFJ estimates that only one of ten killings is investigated,’ the report said, with actual convictions lower still.

The 79-page report will be made public next week, but The Associated Press obtained a copy ahead of a debate on Monday at the British Parliament on ‘deaths of professional and citizen journalists in conflict zones’.

The IFJ will also take the report to a major UNESCO meeting in Paris on Thursday devoted to the same issue.

Last year stood out for the attacks on the Paris office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, where two Islamic extremists killed 12 people at the newspaper’s office.

The IFJ’s 2015 tally was 112.

The IFJ says it bases its information on a variety of sources, including national affiliates in about 140 nations, police sources and political reports.

It has published annual reports since 1990, focusing on the killings of journalists and media staff in work-related incidents. The totals centre on deaths of media professionals in targeted assassinations, cross fire incidents and bomb attacks.

There is also a disturbing trend in which kidnappers who seize journalists kill them, often without even seeking ransom, Bellanger said.

Over the past 25 years, Iraq has topped the list of most dangerous countries, the scene of 309 killings, the overwhelming majority of them since the 2003 US-led invasion and war.

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