A total of 50 journalists were killed worldwide in 2020, according to the second part of the annual round-up of abusive treatment and violence against journalists, published today by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
While the number of journalists killed in countries at war continues to fall, more are being murdered in countries not at war.
“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,” he added.
RSF tallied 50 cases of journalists killed in connection with their work from 1 January to 15 December 2020, a number similar to 2019 (when 53 journalists were killed), although fewer journalists have been in the field this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
More journalists are being killed in countries considered to be “at peace.” In 2016, 58% of media fatalities took place in war zones. Now only 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.
In other words, 68% (more than two thirds) of the fatalities are in countries “at peace,” above all Mexico (with eight journalists killed), India (four), the Philippines (three) and Honduras (three).
Of all the journalists killed in connection with their work in 2020, 84% were knowingly targeted and deliberately murdered, as compared to 63% in 2019. Some were murdered in a particularly barbaric manner.