At least 34 journalists have been deliberately killed worldwide in 2018 for doing their job. This number has increased from 2017, in addition to an increase of journalists in jail. Reporting on conflicts often makes the reporters’ jobs incredibly risky. However, they used to be protected as guerilla fighters relied on the press to communicate their message to the rest of the world. In recent times, things have changed as organised crime groups are savvy enough to use social media as their means of disseminating information.
The current United States government has also changed its responses to these killings. In the past, the Bush and Obama administrations would pressure foreign officials to ensure the killers were lawfully punished as these killings usually took place in conflict-laden countries. Now, instead of defending journalists, Trump attacks and belittles the press more often.
Read the full article on The New Republic: Why Were So Many Journalists Murdered in 2018?
This upward trend of murders and imprisonment of journalist bodes ill for press freedom. Government actors are more keen on keeping real situations under wrap, and limiting access to information than to protect the rights of the press to report on happenings.
According to the tally kept by Reporters without Borders, the number of reporters killings worldwide stood at 56 in October 2018, compared with 55 from 2017. Most have taken place in war zones and drug crime zones, like Mexico and Turkey. Some reporters have been accused of terrorism and made a public enemy, for reporting on secrets that state actors may want to hide.
Questions for further personal evaluation:
- How important is press freedom for society?
- What more can be done to protect journalists?
- ‘symbiotic’: denoting a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups
- ‘abrogation’: the repeal or abolition of a law, right, or agreement.
- ‘impunity’: exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action