GENEVA – A total of 115 journalists killed this year, a 45 percent jump compared to last year and the highest casualty count since 2018, according to a global media safety and rights group, Press Emblem Campaign.
At the same time, a record total of 533 journalists, 13.4 percent higher than last year’s figure, are currently detained worldwide, according to the annual round-up of violence and abuses against journalists published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Ukraine and Mexico topped as the most dangerous countries for media work this year, the Geneva-based PEC said in its annual report published in Geneva.
PEC said since January, 115 media workers have been killed in 29 countries worldwide.
“The number of journalists killed increased by 45 percent compared to last year (79 victims). It is the highest number of casualties since 2018, with a brutal deterioration in Europe due to the war in Ukraine,” PEC President Blaise Lempen said.
Latin America most unsafe
By region, Latin America is ahead with 39 journalists killed, followed by Europe with 37 victims, Asia with 30, Africa with seven and North America with two.
Europe experienced the worst deterioration in the safety of journalists since the wars in former Yugoslavia from 1992 to 1999.
“In Ukraine, it is tough to establish the exact circumstances of the deaths of journalists in the absence of an independent investigation, but PEC counted 34 victims since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24,” PEC said.
At least eight journalists were killed in the line of duty and two others in Russian shelling or other crimes and at least 14 as fighters in the Ukrainian army,
Among the 34 victims in Ukraine, eight were foreigners.
After Ukraine, Mexico was the most dangerous country with 17 victims, the highest annual death toll since at least the beginning of the century in this country.
Meanwhile, China, “where censorship and surveillance have reached extreme levels,” continues to be the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, with a total of 110 currently being held, RSF said.
Iran, with 47 detainees, became the world’s third biggest jailer of journalists just one month after the onset of massive protests.
RSF said it had also never previously seen so many women journalists in detention. A total of 78 are currently held, a record-breaking rise of nearly 30 percent compared to 2021. Anadolu/Philippine News Agency