The profession of journalism is one that holds a lot of impact in society and is crucial in shaping public opinion and providing it a platform. Apart from accusations of being biased and hate mail from internet trolls in the digital age, there are many journalists who also operate at the risk of their lives.
Be it journalists paying the price for daring exposes or others being abducted and beheaded in war zones, the practice of silencing dissent has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of journalists. Now Reporters Without Borders (RSF), come out with statistics of journalists dying in the line of duty.
Here are countries which have accounted for the highest number of journalists being killed in the past year, as 110 lost their lives globally.
1. Iraq, 11 deaths
As the Islamic State emerged as a force perpetrating brutal violence in the Middle East, foreign journalists were repeatedly targeted in abductions and beheadings carried out on video.
Although the war torn country accounted for nine targeted killings of journalists including Sabah al Bazi of Al Arabiya and an anchor on a state owned television network Riad al-Saray, 2 deaths were caused by unexplained reasons.
2. Syria, 10 deaths
Along with Iraq, Syria saw the rise of the Islamic State, as it went on a rampage in the country, abducting and killing journalists, among which the beheading of James Foley brought the brutal phenomenon under the spotlight.
While freelancer Jamal Khalifeh was among those killed while covering the fight against IS, nine were murdered in target killings, while one died because of reasons still not clear.
3. France, 8 deaths
While the European nation has been a safe haven for journalists to exercise their freedom of speech and expression, the attacks by IS that marked the beginning and the end for France, indicated the drastic change in the situation.
Eight journalists were shot dead by terrorists in the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo office, and they account for all the journalists killed in the country.
4. Yemen, 8 deaths
Apart from the raging conflict in Syria and Iraq, Yemen also faced a crisis as a bloody civil war gripped the nation. The Saudi led coalition pounded the nation with airstrikes, which also resulted in deaths of hundreds of civilians.
Among these several journalists were also killed in airstrikes or crossfire while covering the conflict, as six of eight died during the conflict, while reasons for two deaths were not ascertained.
5. Mexico, 8 deaths
The influence of drug cartels and their ruthless action against anyone standing up to them has been well known for a long time in Mexico, and while five of eight died of unknown causes, three were killed in brutal attacks.
While newspaper owner and journalist José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo’s decapitated and dismembered body was found in Veracruz, Armando Saldaña Morales paid the price for going after fuel theft, as his body was found with four bullets in the head.
6. South Sudan, 7 deaths
As the world was focusing on the conflict in the Middle East and its consequences in the west, South Sudan saw one of the bloodiest civil wars on the African continents, which resulted in thousands of deaths including massacred civilians.
Six of the seven killed died in targeted killings, similar to the case of Boutros Martin of South Sudan tv, who died among five journalists when an official convoy was ambushed by unidentified gunmen.
7. India, 9 deaths
Although India is not a conflict zone, the cases of journalists coming under attack has been high given the dismal law and order situation in some regions, which explains the five journalists being murdered, while causes for four deaths were unclear.
The case of Jagendra Singh being burnt to death by the police in UP shocked the nation, as Sandeep Kothari from Wardha in Maharashtra suffered a similar plight. Meanwhile Aaj Tak’s Akshay Singh died while conducting an interview in the Vyapam case which accounted for several other deaths.
8. Philippines, 7 deaths
As most journalists in the world were victims of terrorism and raging conflicts, Philippines was similar to India as journalists criticising the army, human rights violations and corruption the government, were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in most cases.
The south east Asian country saw targeted killings of three prominent journalists, four of the seven killed died of unclear causes.
Although the number of jounalists being murdered in seemingly planned attacks was lower than most years along the past decade, the trend of more journalists being killed outside conflict zones is a cause for greater concern.
Feature image source: Reuters