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Promoting Good Governance.

More Than 20 Journalists So Far Killed In 2015

By Samuel Malik, Abuja

In a trend that has alarmed media practitioners around the world, 25 journalists have been killed between January and now across many nations, the International Press Institute has revealed.

In 12 countries, including South Sudan, the only African country, journalists were either shot, machetted, stabbed, or decapitated.

Only two of the 25 killed were involved in motor accidents. These are Gaye Cosar (Turkey) and Kazumi Takaya (Japan) who died from injuries sustained in motor accidents in Armenia and Turkey respectively.

In France, eight journalists were among the twelve people killed when two gunmen entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper, on January 14. Among those killed was the editor of the paper, Stéphane Charbonnier.

Four South Sudan journalists, Musa Mohamed Dhaiyah, Randa George Adam, Dalia Marko, Adam Juma, and Boutros Martin were killed on January 25 when the convoy they were traveling in was ambushed by heavily armed men in Western Bahr al-Ghazal State, South Sudan.

They travelled with a newly-elected County Commissioner Maradom James Benjamin, who visited victims of a previous attack in the area.

The gruesome decapitations of Avijit Roy, the American-Bangladeshi, and the Mexican, Moises Sanchez Cerezo, exposed the deliberate nature of some of the attacks.

Roy was attacked on his way from a book fair with his wife when they were attacked with machetes and sharp objects, while Moises was abducted by nine men in his country on January 2, 2015 and spent about three weeks before his body was found on January 24.

Islamic State, ISIS, the terrorist group threatening the Middle East, was responsible for the death of two Iraqi journalists, Ali Al-Ansari and Adnan Abdul Razzaq.

Al-Ansari was killed in crossfire between government troops and the terrorists while Adnan was killed by firing squad.

Other violent murders included the Colombian journalist, Edgar Quintero, who was shot seven times in a bakery and the Uzbek, Rakhmatilla Mirzaiev, severally stabbed in the backyards of his house.

Between 1997 and 2015, the IPI said a total of 1, 487 journalists have been killed in 75 countries, with 133 killed in 2012 alone compared to 28 in 1997.

A look at the statistics shows that Nigeria also saw a good number of journalists killed. Of the 168 killed in Africa during the period under review, Nigeria accounted for 13 per cent (22), behind the continent leader Somalia with 40 per cent (57).

Nigeria’s involvement saw it ranked 13th from 1997 to 2013, the second highest African country ranked, behind Somalia (8th).

However, the biggest casualty figure recorded in Nigeria is six deaths in 1999, followed by 2012 when five journalists lost their lives.

Surprisingly, African countries ranked low in the number of deaths involving journalist.

Zimbabwe, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Madagascar, Mozambique, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Tunisia, and Uganda all had just one death each involving journalists.

Countries rife with armed conflicts, drug wars and intolerance of press freedom unsurprisingly ranked high. Iraq, Philippines, Mexico, Pakistan, Syria, and Somalia are all in the top 10.

Steven Ellis, director of advocacy and communications of the Institute, said more journalists are at risk as a result of their increasing coverage of unsafe territories.

“The number of journalists’ deaths so soon in 2015 shows that journalists are reporting in increasingly hostile environments, whether in conflict zones or not,” he said.

“These journalists and their families deserve justice, and one of the most important steps in ensuring that such crimes aren’t repeated is for authorities to show those who would attack journalists that they will be punished.”

The 12 countries where journalists have been killed so far in 2015 are: Armenia (1), Bangladesh (1), Brazil (1), Colombia (2), France (8), Iraq (2), Mexico (1), South Sudan (5), Turkey (1), Ukraine (1), Uzbekistan (1), and Yemen (1).

 

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