Many journalists place their lives on the line to report on civil wars and natural disasters. Several countries in the world have a dangerous reputation when it comes to the safety of journalists. According to a report compiled by CNN, here is a list of the deadliest countries for journalists:
On July 7th, 2017 Sudad Faris was fatally shot by an Islamic State sniper while covering a military operation in Imam Gharbi, a small town located a few miles from Mosul, Iraq. Sudad Faris worked as a cameraman for Salaheddin TV, an Iraqi media outlet. Harb Hazza al-Duleimi, another journalist, was also killed during the same attack. The two incidences brought the deaths of journalists reported in Iraq to six in 2017. The deaths also amplify the infamous reputation Iraq has had in the recent past for being the deadliest country in the world for journalists, a title the country has held for several consecutive years. The victims of the brutality are usually journalists who risk everything to cover the ongoing war against the Islamic State. The number of journalists killed reached its peak in 2006 when 32 journalists were killed at the height of the US-led Iraqi invasion. In 2015 there were 11 journalists killed in Iraq.
The civil war in Syria has turned to become the world’s deadliest conflict in recent years. Statistics show that over 5,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict between January and July 2017. The conflict has turned Syria into one of the most dangerous places for professionals and journalists. Data from the Committee to Protect Journalists show that three journalists lost their lives in Syria in the first seven months of 2017. The most recent death was that of Khaled al-Khateb, a RT Arabic reporter who was killed on July 30th, 2017 near Sukhna village in Homs, Syria. Khaled was killed by a rocket fired by Islamic State militia that hit a Syrian army convoy, an attack which also led to the death of scores of Syrian army soldiers.10 journalists were killed in Syria in 2015.
India has had a notorious history for detaining journalists, particularly those who criticize the government. In addition to the numerous arrests of journalists, the country also has gained the notoriety of being one of the deadliest countries for journalists. While there have not been any reported journalists killed in India in 2017, records from the Committee to Protect Journalists show that about 40 journalists have been killed in India since 1992 while in 1997 seven journalists were murdered in the country. 2015 was the worst with 9 journalists killed in the country.
An exciting addition to the list is Mexico. Despite not receiving the media coverage it deserves, the ongoing war in Mexico was established as the second deadliest conflict in the world, behind the Syrian Civil war with about 23,000 people being killed in 2006 alone. Journalists have been caught up in the ongoing conflict and have been directly targeted by the drug lords as well as government officials. There have been four confirmed journalists who have lost their lives in 2017 while on assignment in Mexico. One such unfortunate incident happened on May 15th, 2017 when Javier Valdez Cardenas, an investigative reporter and co-founder of Riodoce was shot dead. In 2015 there were 8 journalists who lost their lives in the country.
The only entrant from Europe is France, which was regarded as the deadliest country for journalists in the continent. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a total of 9 journalists have been killed in the country since 1992 with all the 9 cases being reported in one incident in 2015. On January 7th, 2015, two gunmen stormed into the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a Paris-based satirical publication and opened fire on the media outlet employees leading to 12 fatalities with 9 of them being journalists.
Yemen has been ravaged by a civil war since the armed conflict between Saudi-backed government forces and Houthi rebels began in January 2015. The Yemeni Civil War has led to the death of over 16,000 people, with the vast majority being civilians. There have been two confirmed deaths of journalists in Yemen between January and July 2017. The journalists killed in 2017 in the country were Wael al-Absi from Yemen TV and Takieddin al-Hudhaifi. Both journalists died on May 26th, 2017 in Taiz, Yemen. However, in 2016 six journalists were killed in the country. In 2015, eight journalists lost their lives in Yemen.
The second country on the list from Latin America was Honduras which was identified as among the deadliest countries in the world for journalists. Only one journalist, Igor Abisai Padilla Chavez was killed in the country during the first seven months of 2017. Igor Abisai Padilla Chavez, a renowned television reporter, was shot and killed on January 17th, 2017 by four armed assailants in Suyapa. The country has had a notorious reputation for the murder of journalists. In August 2014 another journalist, Nery Francisco Soto was killed outside of his home. Journalists have to work in fear especially those involved in sensitive topics such as corruption or drug trafficking. In 2015, a total of 7 journalists lost their lives in the country.
8. South Sudan
The sole African country on the list was South Sudan which was considered as the deadliest country for journalists in the continent. The ongoing civil strife in the country has placed local journalists in South Sudan at great risk with several having been murdered in the recent past. In 2015, seven journalists from South Sudan lost their lives. The government of South Sudan has been linked to several of these murders after President Salva Kiir threatened local journalists in 2015.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported one confirmed murder of a journalist in the Philippines between January and July 2017. Joaquin Briones lost his life on March 13th, 2017 after unknown assailants shot him four times in the small town of Milagros, Masbate. The murder is yet to be resolved, and investigators are likely to rule out the possibility of the incident to be a robbery case. The deceased journalist is said to have complained of receiving death threats on numerous occasions as he was usually engaged in investigative journalism where he tackled controversial topics such as drug trafficking as well as illegal gambling. Journalists in the Philippines have in the recent past killed for their journalism work which led to the establishment of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security in 2016 aimed to offer protection to the country’s journalists. In 2015, there were 7 journalists who were killed.
Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists is a non-profit organization which was established to promote press freedom all over the globe. For more than three decades, the Committee to Protect Journalists has reached out to oppressed journalists to safeguard their freedom and safety.