“In 2022, the number of deaths of journalists is skyrocketing.” News headlines and events Last Minute Russia
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that at least 67 journalists and media workers were killed in 2022, up 50 percent from 2021, and that 2022 was the year with the highest number of journalists killed since 2018.
Some of the journalists killed in 2022 followed crime and corruption in Colombia, political unrest in Chad, Israel, Palestine and Myanmar, environmental issues in Brazil and local politics in Turkey and America. These deaths highlight the scale of the threats facing media around the world, including in countries with democratically elected governments.
CPJ tracks the deaths of journalists in three different areas. Those who have been targeted because of the news they have made make up the largest category. The second category includes those who died in conflicts on the battlefield or under crossfire. The last category includes the names of those who died on other dangerous missions. CPJ also tracks deaths in media-supporting jobs such as translators, drivers, and security guards.
Journalists covering the war in Ukraine are at extreme risk
At least 15 journalists were killed in Ukraine in 2022 after the February 24 Russian invasion. CPJ reported that 13 of these journalists were killed while gathering news or reporting, and it is investigating whether another 2 journalists were killed while working with the press.
Many of these journalists died in the first months of the war. CPJ reported that no journalists have died in Ukraine since the murder of French cameraman Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff in May. But the situation in Ukraine remains dangerous. Members of the press are frequently injured during artillery fire, with some reporting that they have been targeted by Russian forces.
Latin America is the region with the highest risk of death of journalists
According to CPJ, 30 journalists were killed in Latin America in 2022. The fact that almost half of the world’s journalistic deaths occur in Latin America highlights how dangerous this region is for journalists covering crime, corruption, gang violence and environmental issues. At least 12 journalists have been killed in Latin America for their direct journalistic activities, while CPJ continues to investigate the causes of 18 other deaths.
It was noted that in 2022, 3 journalists were killed in Mexico in connection with their direct work, the causes of the death of another 10 journalists who died in the country are being investigated. 2022 marked the highest number of journalists killed in Mexico in a year since CPJ began recording journalist deaths in 1992.
The rise in violence faced by journalists reporting on the political crisis, gang violence and social upheaval following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July 2021 is alarming. At least 5 journalists were killed on the job in Haiti, the cause of death of two journalists is under investigation.
In Brazil, Chile and Colombia, 4 journalists were killed in the line of duty. The causes of death of 6 journalists who died in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Paraguay have not yet been clarified.
Murder of Shirin Abu Akile is a sign of Israel’s impunity
In May 2022, Palestinian-born American journalist Shirin Abu Akile was shot and killed while reporting on an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the West Bank. Eyewitnesses and several investigators reported that an Israeli soldier fired a bullet that killed a veteran Al Jazeera journalist.
An investigation by the US State Department also concluded that fire from Israel Defense Forces positions “most likely” caused Abu Akila’s death, “but there was no reason why it was deliberate.”
The Israeli government did not launch a transparent investigation into Abu Akila’s death and took no steps to bring those responsible for the murder to justice.
CPJ welcomed the FBI’s announcement in November that it plans to launch an investigation into Abu Akile’s death.
CPJ notes that the killing of Abu Akile is the latest example of Israeli impunity for crimes against the press. A year before the assassination of Abu Akile, Israel bombed several buildings belonging to the media in Gaza, including the offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. The Israeli government stated that these buildings were used by Hamas militants for military purposes. However, the government failed to comply with CPJ’s demand to provide evidence for these claims.
Local members of the press covering politics, crime and corruption were often the targets of attacks.
CPJ reports that 18 of the 19 journalists killed in retaliation for their reporting in 2022 are working on sensitive issues such as politics, crime and corruption in their countries of origin.
For example, it was recorded that all four journalists killed in the Philippines were radio broadcasters who followed local politics.
In the United States, in September 2022, Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, who investigates politics, crime and corruption, was stabbed to death by a local official who lost an election. Herman has been known to make news about the mismanagement of a local politician. There are murder charges against this man, who was arrested after the attack.
Another journalist investigating corruption, Ashraf Sharif from Pakistan, was also killed in 2022. Sharif, a former television journalist who criticizes corruption in Pakistan, was shot and killed by Kenyan police in October in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Pakistani investigators noted that Sharif’s death was a “planned targeted killing” and that the Kenyan police could not confuse Sharif with someone else.
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