by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – AT least 87 journalists and media workers were killed globally in 2022.
According to the United Nations (UN), the deaths almost doubled from the average 58 killings per year from 2019 to 2021.
Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, disclosed the death toll in his report, titled “Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.”
“Since the previous report of the Secretary-General on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity presented at the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly, threats and attacks against journalists and media workers have continued to increase,” Guterres noted.
The number of women journalists killed rose from six to ten during the above mentioned period.
The war in Ukraine has contributed to this spike in cases, with 14 journalists killed during the fighting between that country and Russia from February 2022.
“Yet, most of the killings of journalists globally continue to take place outside conflict zones,” Guterres stated.
For instance, in 2022 and the first half of 2023, 22 journalists were recorded killed in Mexico.
The Asia, the Pacific region and the Latin America and Caribbean regions show the highest numbers of killings of journalists between 2016 and the end of 2020, followed by the Arab region, while less than a quarter of the total number of killings took place in Africa, Western Europe, North America and Central and Eastern Europe combined.
The killing of journalists is not the only manifestation of violence against the media.
Numerous cases of attacks against journalists in connection with the coverage of protests, public demonstrations and riots continue to occur in many countries, Guterres said.
Many other journalists have been arrested, beaten and subjected to other forms of physical and psychological ill-treatment.
The Committee to Protect Journalists found that the number of journalists detained because of their work had hit a new global record in 2022, with 363 journalists imprisoned worldwide compared with 293 in 2021.
State authorities use sophisticated software to block websites and to conduct surveillance of Internet users. Coupled with this, internet shutdowns and disruptions are increasingly used to curtail the freedom of the media
Over the past decade, shutdowns have tended to be imposed during heightened political tensions, with at least 225 shutdowns recorded during public demonstrations relating to social, political or economic grievances.
– CAJ News