Six women among 94 journalists, media staff killed in 2018: Watchdog

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Photograph by Bhat Burhan for The Kashmir Walla
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94 journalists and media workers died in targeted killings, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents this year the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said on Monday, Al-Jazeera reported.

The figure, up from 82 killings recorded in 2017, included 84 journalists, camera people and technicians as well as 10 media staff members including drivers and protection officers.

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Six of the victims were women and there were also another three work-related accidental deaths, the Brussels-based group’s annual report said.

Afghanistan was the most dangerous place for journalists , where 16 media workers lost their lives. At least nine journalists were killed in an explosion in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, in April after arriving at the scene to cover the aftermath of an earlier suicide bombing.

Mexico ranked second , where organised crime often targets journalists, 11 media workers were killed.

Nine were killed in Yemen, eight in Syria, seven in India, six in Somalia and five each in Pakistan and USA. Three were killed in the Philippines, Ecuador and Brazil, and two in Colombia, Guatemala and the besieged Gaza Strip – Palestinian  two journalists were killed by Israeli forces in April while covering months-long mass protests along the fence with Israel.

The list “paints a situation of on-going safety crisis in journalism, which was highlighted by the cruel murder of the Washington Post columnist and Saudi national, Jamal Khashoggi”, the IFJ said in a statement.

Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. His body has not been found.

Khashoggi wrote critically of Saudi Arabia’s government, and the alleged involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in the journalist’s slaying has put the governments of other countries under pressure to sever economic and political ties.

“Jamal Khashoggi was a very well-known figure, but you know, the most shocking statistic is that we know that nine of 10 journalist murders remain unpunished in the world,” IFJ President Philippe Leruth said.

Leruth demanded that United Nations member states adopt a convention on the security and protection of journalists that it presented to UN missions in New York in October.

“This convention, supported by the profession as a whole, is a concrete response to crimes committed against journalists in full impunity,” he said.

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