34 journalists killed this year singled out for murder: Watchdog



journalist, cpj,ifj
Photograph by Bhat Burhan for The Kashmir Walla

A media watch dog has said that 34 of the 53 journalists killed on duty this year around the world were “singled out for murder.” 

Committee to protect journalists said that journalists faced growing dangers of being targeted for killing for their work in 2018 even as the risks from war and conflict declined

“The number of journalists targeted for murder in reprisal for their reporting nearly doubled in 2018 from a year earlier, driving up the overall count of journalists killed on the job,” the New York-based watchdog group said in a report.

The reported echoed concerns in a similar report this week from Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, which found the death toll at 80, using a different methodology that includes bloggers, citizen journalists and media workers.

Both reports cited an alarming increase in reprisals against reporters, highlighted by what CPJ called the “brazen murder” of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. The CPJ report said that while the total number of journalists killed on duty hit its highest level in three years, the number killed in conflict fell to its lowest since 2011.

The total is up from 47 killed in 2017, of which 18 were “pinpointed for murder,” CPJ said.

“Afghanistan, where extremists have stepped up deliberate attacks on journalists, was the deadliest country and accounted for much of the increase,” the report said.

AFP’s chief photographer in Afghanistan, Shah Marai, was among 25 people killed along with eight other journalists, in an April bomb attack. The press rights group lamented “a lack of international leadership on journalists’ rights and safety” that may be increasing the dangers for the news media, illustrated by the Khashoggi killing.

“The most vocal head of state in Khashoggi’s case has been Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government has effectively shut down the independent media and is jailing more journalists than any other around the world for the third consecutive year,” said the report by CPJ’s Elana Beiser.

“The White House, traditionally a strong defender of global press freedom, has equivocated on the blame for Khashoggi’s murder… Essentially, (US President Donald) Trump signaled that countries that do enough business with the United States are free to murder journalists without consequence.” CPJ said it was investigating the killing of another 23 journalists in 2018, but so far not confirmed that the deaths were related to their work. (with inputs from PTI)

 


Kashmir needs independent journalism…

…now, more than ever to give a voice to the voiceless. The press in Kashmir has operated under tremendous pressures of reporting from a conflict zone but since August 2019 we find ourselves in unchartered territory. The Kashmir Walla is among the oldest independent media outlets in Kashmir and has withstood successive lockdowns as well as attempts to suppress us, fighting back with authoritative ground reports based on facts.

We believe in making the powers that be accountable to their actions but to also hold the mirror to the society. We believe in covering all sides of the story and that empowerment in essence means the ability to make informed decisions. As such we have not allowed our journalism to be influenced by the pressures.

Despite the new and still unknown pressures, we are all the more committed to keep informing you of events and stories that matter. Our recent coverage of events has brought us an increased readership. However, the coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic crisis has affected our operational capabilities. We are facing an existential threat but only your support can help us withstand this and maintain our editorial independence.

We need your solidarity to keep our journalism going. Your contribution will empower us to keep you informed on stories that matter from Kashmir. Show your solidarity by joining our members community. Kashmir thanks you.