50 journalists killed globally in 2020, 2 in Nigeria -Report

A TOTAL number of 50 journalists were killed globally in 2020, a report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has shown.

The report which was published on Tuesday is the second part of its (RSF) annual round-up report of the abusive treatment and violence against journalists across the globe also shows that two journalists fell victim to the climate of violence accompanying protests, especially protests against the brutality of police operatives in Nigeria.

It noted that while the number of journalists killed in countries at war continues to fall, more are being murdered in countries not at war.

More concerns

RSF noted with concern that 32% of the fatalities are in war-torn countries such as Syria or Yemen or in countries with low or medium-intensity conflicts such as Afghanistan and Iraq. while 68 percent (more than two thirds) of the fatalities are in countries “at peace,” above all Mexico leading with eight journalists killed, India with four, the Philippines with three and Honduras, three.

It further stated that 84 percent of those that were killed in connection to their work were knowingly targeted and deliberately murdered, as compared to 63% in 2019. While some were murdered in a particularly barbaric manner.

In Mexico, Julio Valdivia Rodríguez, a reporter for the daily El Mundo, was found beheaded in the eastern state of Veracruz, while Víctor Fernando Álvarez Chávez, the editor of the local news website Punto x Punto Noticias, was cut to pieces in the western city of Acapulco. In India, Rakesh “Nirbhik” Singh, a reporter for the Rashtriya Swaroop newspaper, was burned alive in December after being doused with a highly flammable, alcohol-based hand sanitiser in his home in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh by men sent by a local official whose corrupt practices he had criticised, while Isravel Moses, a TV reporter in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu, was hacked to death with machetes.

In Iran, it was the state that acted as executioner. Rouhollah Zam, the editor of the Amadnews website and Telegram news channel, was hanged after being sentenced to death in an unfair trial. Although executions are common in Iran, it was the first time in 30 years that a journalist has been subjected to this archaic and barbaric practice.

“The world’s violence continues to be visited upon journalists,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Some may think that journalists are just the victims of the risks of their profession, but journalists are increasingly targeted when they investigate or cover sensitive subjects. What is being attacked is the right to be informed, which is everyone’s right.”

As in the past, the most dangerous stories are investigations into cases of local corruption or misuse of public funds (10 journalists killed in 2020) or investigations into the activities of organised crime (four killed). In a new development in 2020, seven journalists were killed while covering protests.






     

     

    In Iraq, three journalists were killed in exactly the same way: by a shot to the head fired by unidentified gunmen while they were covering protests. A fourth was killed in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region while trying to flee from clashes between security forces and demonstrators.

    In Colombia, a reporter for a community radio station was fatally shot while covering an indigenous community protest against the privatisation of local land that was violently dispersed by regular police, riot police and soldiers.

    In the 2020 annual round-up of journalists who are detained, held hostage or missing at the end of the year, published on 14 December, RSF reported that 387 journalists are currently detained in connection with their work. This is virtually the same as a year ago and means the number of journalists detained worldwide is still at a historically high level.

    2020 has also seen a 35 percent increase in the number of women journalists arbitrarily detained, and a fourfold increase in arrests of journalists during the first three months of Covid-19’s spread around the world. Fourteen journalists who were arrested in connection with their coverage of the pandemic are still being held.

     

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here


    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement

    Recent

    - Advertisement