Kampala. At least 530 practising Journalists have been killed in the past five years across the world, a new report has shown.
The report titled: ‘World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Global report 2017/18’ that was released in Kampala on Wednesday, showed that majority of the murdered journalists occurred in the Arab war ravaged countries, representing 56 per cent of the overall killings. The report prepared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), showed that two Ugandan journalists were killed in the same reporting period.
Syrian Arab Republic posted the biggest number of journalists killed (86) in the reporting period with the United States of America, South Africa, Kenya being among the countries that posted only one death in the past five years.
“From 2012 through 2016 inclusive, UNESCO’s director general condemned the killing of 530 journalists, an average of two deaths per week,” the report read in part
Adding: “With the number of member states that have experienced periods of violent conflict, the Arab region remains the most dangerous for journalists with 191 killed between 2012 and 2016, including a significant peak of 50 deaths in 2012.”
On the causes of the these murders, the report shows that of the 328 journalists recorded during the same five-year period by a Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) were killed as a result of their personal work with, nearly 50 per cent were murdered, compared to the 36 per cent caught in the crossfire, 14 per cent were killed while working on dangerous assignments.
According to the NGO, political groups were most likely source of violence with 36 per cent in the killings, followed by military officials at 22 per cent with unknown sources accounting for 22 per cent.
Showing the extent of the killings of journalists by continent, the report shows that Latin America and the Caribbean countries saw an increase in the number of journalists killed over the past five years with 125 of them being killed.
“This trend can be largely attributed to the organised crime, drug trafficking and corruption. After a steep decline prior to 2014, killings have sharply risen throughout the Asia and Pacific region to the high of 27 in 2016,”
Situation in Africa
The report shows that Africa has seen a distinct decline in the killings of journalists over the last five years, down from 26 in 2012 to seven in 2016. Killings throughout the Central and Eastern Europe, have fluctuated over the past five years presenting no clear trend but the remaining relatively low. The report also observes that the generally low-risk region for lethal violence against journalists, Western Europe and Northern America has seen uncharacteristically high killings in the past three years largely due to an act of violent extremism. (NMG)