PEC terms 2013 another deadly year for journalists

Geneva, 30 December 2013 (PEC) – The year 2013 has been another deadly year for journalists because of the coverage of several armed conflicts. 129 journalists were killed in the line of duty in 28 countries, a decrease of 8 percent as compared to the figures of the PEC report 2012.

Last year 141 journalists were killed, a record figure due to the deadly Syrian conflict. The number of journalists killed in Syria this year has decreased however abductions of foreign journalists have increased: 15 so far are still in captivity in Syria or have disappeared.

Using the same yardstick, 107 journalists were killed in 2011, 110 in 2010 and 122 in 2009 – a total of 609 journalists during the past 5 years, on average 122 per year and 2.3 per week, one every three days.

Among the 129 journalists killed this year around 90 (70%) were killed in conflict zones or in violent unrest. Three quarter of them were intentionally targeted, others were killed mostly accidentally in bomb attacks.

Syria ranks first as the deadliest country for media work for the second year with 17 journalists killed. Iraq comes second with 16 killed, then Pakistan with 14 killed, the Philippines 11 killed and India with nine killed.

Unprecedented kidnapping

In Syria, the number of journalists killed has drastically diminished (-20) however the number of journalists kidnapped has risen dramatically. At least 15 foreign journalists are in captivity: Didier François (France), Edouard Elias (France), Nicolas Hénin (France), Peter Torres (France), Basher Fahmi (Jordanian/Palestinian), James Foley (USA), Austin Tice (USA), Ishak Mostar (Mauritania), Samir Kassab (Lebanon), Bunyamin Aygun (Turkey), Marc Marginedas (Spain), Javier Espinosa Robles (Spain), Ricardo García Vilanova (Spain), Magnus Falkehed (Sweden), Niclas Hammarström (Sweden).
At least another 15 foreign journalists were freed or were successful in fleeing captivity, marking the total to a high of 30 kidnapped or disappeared this year.
PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen has commented by saying that those kidnappings in Syria by armed groups are unprecedented, even in Iraq between 2003 and 2006 this high figure was not common which renders the coverage of the ongoing war in this country extremely dangerous for journalists. Those armed groups only seek financing of their armed struggle which places them on the level of criminal groups.
PEC calls for the release of all journalists detained before the international conference Geneva 2 on Syria in Switzerland 22 January.
According to the PEC end of year report the situation has unfortunately deteriorated again in Iraq particularly in Mosul after an improvement last year. So far 16 journalists were killed this year against 3 in 2012.
Somalia comes in 6th place with 8 killed against 19 last year. Egypt follows with 7 killed, a marked deterioration following the 30 of June revolution that led to the ousting of former President Morsi.
Brazil ranks in 8th position with 6 journalists killed (against 11 in 2012), and Mexico 5 (against 11), Guatemala follows with 4 journalists killed.
Afghanistan, Columbia, Honduras, Libya and Russia witnessed the killing of 3 journalists in each country. Two journalists were killed in Haiti, Kenya, Mali, Paraguay. And one in each of the following countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Nigeria, Peru, Uganda, Tanzania and Yemen.
The journalists covering the Middle East were the hardest hit 44 (34%), followed by Asia 37 (29%), then Latin America 27 (21%), Africa follows with 18 (14%) ahead of Europe 3 (2%).
Progress at the international level
Lempen noted that good progress has occurred while mobilizing the international community, the Security Council has convened two meetings on the protection of journalists, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution and the Human Rights Council decides to convene a debate on the same issue, while UNESCO continues the implementation of its plan of action.
He added that this awakening is a great success for organizations that defend journalists, when years ago governments ignored the problem or gave a blind eye. Now the question is not if we have to do something, but what we have to do to protect journalists in conflict zones.
For the PEC, he stressed, there is however a lot to be done for concrete changes in the field, especially in the struggle against impunity.
PEC President Hedayat Abdel Nabi said that the world is now moving in the right direction to bring justice to journalists who have lost their lives in defense of their profession and human rights.
List of casualties on:

Source: PEC


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