They reported corruption, organized crime or environmental degradation – and were therefore killed. More than 50 journalists died in 2020. Mexico, Iraq and Afghanistan are among the most dangerous countries.
At least 50 people have been killed this year for their work in journalism. This means that nothing has improved significantly compared to the previous year.
“The vast majority of them were deliberately murdered because they researched topics such as corruption, organized crime or environmental degradation,” said the organization “Reporters Without Borders” (RSF) in its published “Annual Report on Press Freedom 2020”. “Several were killed while reporting on demonstrations.”
Hundreds died with coronavirus
The most dangerous countries for media professionals this year were Mexico, Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. In total, at least 937 people have been killed because of or in the course of their journalistic work in the past ten years. In 2019 there were 53.
“In addition, hundreds of journalists worldwide died of or with Covid-19. How many of them were infected with the novel coronavirus as a result of their work cannot be determined,” explained “Reporters Without Borders”. The virus killed at least three due to a lack of medical care after they believed to have contracted prisons in Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
For the first time in 30 years the death penalty for journalists
According to “Reporters Without Borders”, two thirds of media workers died outside of conflict regions. Only one person was killed abroad, all the others in their home countries.
Two of the at least 50 people killed around the world were women. In addition, with the execution of Ruhollah Sam in Iran on December 12, the death penalty was carried out on a media worker for the first time in 30 years.
Journalists are particularly dangerous in Mexico
According to the organization, Mexico remains the most dangerous country for media professionals with eight people killed. “Those who research the links between drug cartels and politics are particularly at risk. The most recent murders are evidence of particularly brutality: the body of a newspaper journalist was found decapitated; that of an online journalist was dismembered.”
In Iraq, where six media representatives died, strangers shot dead several people who reported on demonstrations. “Others were murdered in the street without anyone being punished or even seriously investigated,” RSF reported.
“In Afghanistan, too, those responsible for the attacks, with which at least five media workers were murdered in 2020, remained unknown.” The situation there is threatening not least for women. This was made clear by the murder of a TV presenter who had also campaigned for better protection for women in the media.