2020: 50 journalists were killed around world, majority in countries at peace

This figure, provided by “Reporters Without Borders”, is stable compared to the 53 journalists killed last year, despite the reduction in the number of reports due to the Covid-19 pandemic. p >

Le Monde avec AFP

With 50 journalists killed in 2020, the majority in peaceful countries, and nearly 400 others imprisoned, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), this year once again bears witness to severe violations of the right to information.

This figure is stable compared to the 53 journalists killed last year, despite the reduction in the number of reports due to the Covid-19 pandemic, notes RSF in its annual report published Tuesday, December 29. Over ten years, the NGO has counted 937 journalists killed.

The organization for the defense of the press notes the reduction in “the number of journalists killed on war grounds”, but more and more assassinations in so-called peaceful countries, a trend that began in 2016. In 2016, 58% of journalists were killed in conflict zones against 32% this year in countries at war like Syria and Yemen or “zones mined by conflicts of low or medium intensity “(Afghanistan, Iraq).

In 2020, nearly seven journalists on ten – or 34 journalists representing 68% of the total number – were killed in countries at peace, underlines RSF, which carried out its annual count between January 1 and December 15.

The deadliest Mexico

Mexico is the deadliest country for the profession with 8 killed, followed by India (4), Pakistan (4), the Philippines (3) and Honduras (3).

Of all the journalists killed in 2020, 84% were knowingly targeted and deliberately eliminated, against 63% in 2019. “Some were killed under particularly barbaric conditions”, underlines RSF, like the Mexican journalist Julio Valdivia Rodriguez of the daily El Mundo de Veracruz found beheaded in the east of the country, and his colleague Víctor Fernando Alvarez Chavez, editor-in-chief of a local news site, cut to pieces in the city of Acapulco.

In India, journalist Rakesh Singh “Nirbhik” was ” burned alive after being sprayed with highly flammable hydroalcoholic gel, while journalist Isravel Moses, correspondent for a Tamil Nadu television station, was machined to death, “RSF reports. In Iran, it was the state that sentenced to death and then executed by hanging the administrator of the Telegram Amadnews channel, Rouhollah Zam.

“A part of the public considers that journalists are victims of risks profession, even though they are more and more attacked when they investigate or report on sensitive subjects. What is weakened is the right to information “, deplores Christophe Deloire, secretary general of RSF.

Nearly twenty investigative journalists have been killed this year: ten investigating cases of local corruption and embezzlement of public funds, four dealing with the Mafia and organized crime and three working on topics related to environmental issues. RSF also notes the deaths of seven journalists covering protests in Iraq, Nigeria and Colombia, a “new development”, according to the NGO.

A “Covid” effect on press freedom

In the first part of its annual report, published in mid-December, RSF identified 387 jailed journalists, “a historically high number”. The organization had also noted a pandemic effect with the appearance in the spring of a “significant peak in violations of press freedom”, favored by “the emergency laws or emergency measures adopted” in the Most countries.

According to RSF, which launched Observatory 19 in March, dedicated to the issue, “arrests and arrests” were “multiplied by 4” between March and May. “Out of more than 300 incidents directly linked to the journalistic coverage of the health crisis” between February and the end of November, involving nearly 450 journalists, “the arrests and arbitrary arrests” represent “35% of the abuses recorded [in front of the physical or moral violence ] “.

” Press freedom is in decline everywhere “, also warns in its annual report the International Federation of Journalism (IFJ) which has recorded 2,658 journalists killed in the world since 1990, deploring in 90% of cases of assassinations “little or no prosecution”.

/Le Monde Report. View in full here.