More than a thousand journalists were killed between 2006 and 2017, according to a UNESCO report published ahead of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, 2 November.
Last year, the percentage of journalists murdered in countries free of armed conflict (55%) exceeded that of journalists felled in conflict zones for the first time. Impunity for these crimes remains shockingly high as only one out of ten such killings was brought to trial.
This glaring injustice is highlighted in the latest UNESCO Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity
The United Nations has been marking this Day since 2013 as a way of taking stock of efforts undertaken to improve the safety of journalists in the exercise of their profession and to end the impunity of crimes against them. Despite increased public awareness of these problems, statistics show that much remains to be done to shed light on the overwhelming majority of crimes against media workers.
In 2016 and 2017, 182 journalists lost their lives in the line of duty and from January 2018 to today, 86 journalists were killed, according to UNESCO’s count.
Another notable fact concerns the increase in the number of women journalists killed in the exercise of their profession over the last decade. In 2017, UNESCO counted 11 female journalists killed, more than in any year since 2006. The Report also notes that women journalists are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence such as sexual and verbal harassment, as well as online abuse.
About this issue, the Director-General insisted that “our commitment to the fight against the specific threats facing women journalists must clearly be reinforced.”
Local reporters investigating corruption, crime and politics, constitute the overwhelming majority of victims in the profession, 90% in 2017. However, these murders generally receive far less media attention than is given to the death of foreign journalists and correspondents.
- Read the full 2018 DG Report