T.The number of journalists killed in retaliation for their work more than doubled in 2020. This year, more news people than ever before were arrested by authoritarian governments, according to new figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Twenty-one journalists were murdered for their work – up from ten the previous year, and the nonprofit advocacy group said it is investigating the circumstances of 15 other deaths. In total, at least 30 journalists were killed worldwide between January 1 and December 15, reports CPJ. Criminal groups were most commonly suspected of deaths, particularly in Mexico. Politics was the most dangerous blow. The three journalists killed in action – all in Syria, apparently from Russian air strikes – were the lowest number since 2000.
Earlier this month, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists published its annual list of journalists in prison, the highest in the nearly three decades of the census at 274 worldwide. That year, an Iranian journalist appeared on both lists: Roohallah Zam was kidnapped by Iranian activists – apparently from neighboring Iraq – and hanged on December 12th. He had spread information about demonstrations and otherwise embarrassed the Iranian government in the Telegram messaging app. “Zam’s murder is nothing more than a government sponsored murder,” said Joel Simon, executive director of CPJ.
Continue reading: 3 US allies are among the countries with the most journalists in jail
Simon noted that while the Trump administration condemned Zam’s death, it has been undermining press freedom around the globe for the past four years. President Donald Trump has attacked the integrity of journalists, promoted the concept of “false news” to discard accurate reports he deemed undesirable – and did not condemn the 2018 murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi Arabian consulate . CPJ called on President-elect Joe Biden to restore the US tradition of supporting freedom of expression abroad by appointing a special envoy on freedom of the press.
The New York-based organization maintains a “global impunity index,” which ranks nations based on the likelihood that killings will remain officially unsolved. Somalia, which has not had a functioning central government since the early 1990s, comes first. The top ten include Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Sudan and Brazil.
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