Today, Monday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that the killings of journalists and media workers increased by 50 percent in 2022, reaching 86 worldwide, or one death every four days.
Last year’s increase came after three years of declining violence against reporters, with an average of 58 killings per year in 2019-21.
“After several years of consecutive declines, the sharp rise in the number of journalists killed in 2022 is alarming,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.
She added, “The authorities must intensify their efforts to stop these crimes and ensure that the perpetrators are punished, because indifference is a major factor in this climate of violence.”
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UNESCO found that in 86 percent of cases no one was brought to justice.
UNESCO said the motives for killing the journalists include “reprisals for coverage of organized crime, armed conflict or the rise of extremism, and coverage of sensitive topics such as corruption, environmental crimes, abuse of power and protests.”
At 44, more than half of the journalists killed in 2022 were in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Three-quarters of the killings occurred outside of large-scale conflicts.
Mexico was the deadliest country with 19 journalists killed, followed by Ukraine, which was fighting the Russian invasion, with 10 deaths and Haiti with nine.
UNESCO found that about half of the journalists it recorded killed last year were off duty at the time, injured “while traveling, in their homes, or in parking lots and other public places where they were not on assignment.”
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The authority added that the trend “indicates that there are no safe places for journalists, even in their spare time.”
UNESCO said journalists can face “multiple forms of violence” including “enforced disappearance, kidnapping, arbitrary detention, legal harassment and digital violence, especially against women,” along with murder.