Geneva, December 9, 2021 (PEC) Afghanistan and Mexico are the most dangerous countries for media work this year, the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said in its annual report in Geneva on Thursday in view of Human Rights Day. Since January, 77 media workers have been killed in 28 countries around the world.

Afghanistan leads with 12 assassinations, ahead of Mexico where 10 journalists were killed. Among the most dangerous countries are Pakistan (7), India (6), the Philippines (4), Yemen (4), and Democratic Republic of Congo

(3). Two deaths were recorded in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina-Faso, Colombia, as well as in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Turkey.

Finally, one victim has been identified in the following countries: Ecuador, Gaza, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Lebanon, Netherlands, Syria, and United States of America.

Improvement in Latin America

By region, Asia, with 40 dead (+7), is ahead of Latin America 17 (-10), Africa 14 (+5), Europe 5 (+2) and North America 1 (+1).

“The number of journalists killed decreased by 8% compared to the same period of last year, a slight improvement. Improvement has taken place in Latin America outside of Mexico, deterioration is observed in Africa and Europe. Mexico and Afghanistan are among the most dangerous countries for journalists for many years, but the rise in Africa is particularly worrying”, commented PEC Secretary General Blaise Lempen.

In Europe, the targeted killings of 3 journalists, in Greece, Georgia and the Netherlands is a very sad  development. In Burma (Myanmar) after the coup and in Afghanistan after the departure of the NATO troops, press freedom has registered a very serious setback.

Of the 77 journalists murdered, 29 were in war zones (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, DRC, Ethiopia, Gaza, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen). Terrorist groups were responsible of at least 20 murders (Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen), an increase compared to previous years. The PEC strongly condemns these attacks and calls for those responsible for these crimes to be brought to justice. Over the last 5 years, Mexico has recorded the highest victims (66), ahead of Afghanistan (53), then India (40), Pakistan (35), Syria (29), the Philippines (22), Iraq (18), Yemen (17), and Somalia (16). In ten years, from 2012 to 2021, 1150 journalists were killed, or 115 per year, 2.2 per week, according to figures from the PEC. One positive development, says PEC President Hedayat Abdel Nabi is that the awareness across the globe has become more widespread due to the impressive engagement of media colleaguesspreading the message of media protection and the safety of journalists as well as press freedom.   More than 1900 journalists have also died from Covid-19 since March 2020, among them at least 1300 since January this year. The PEC will make a special report at a later stage. The PEC lists all killed media workers, whether or not their deaths are related to their professional activity. It is indeed difficult to prove that a crime takes place connected to the work of a journalist without independent and comprehensive investigations which are often lacking.

Source: PEC

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