A look at the dangers journalists faced this year
With fewer military conflicts breaking out around the world, not as many journalists died doing their jobs this year as the year before – but so far, at least 42 have been killed, according to the latest statistics from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Here's an overview of the deadly toll so far
Death toll: From Jan. 1 to Dec. 15, at least 42 journalists were killed around the world, the CPJ's report found. The list does not include journalists who died in car or plane accidents unless hostile action was confirmed as the cause. Last year, 48 journalists were killed. This was the second year in a row that the number of deaths declined.
Violent reprisals: Of the 42 killed, 17 were targeted in specific retribution for their reporting, as opposed to those killed as bystanders in conflict zones or on other dangerous assignments. 2017 offered a shocking example of reprisal killing: Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese investigative journalist who got threats and libel suits for her reporting on corruption, including the activities exposed in the Panama Papers. Ms. Caruana Galizia was killed in October by a car bomb in what was allegedly an elaborate, carefully planned assassination. Three suspects have pleaded not guilty in connection with the killing.
Violence against women: Historically, women account for about 7 per cent of journalists killed per year, but this year it was 19 per cent, or eight women. This included Shifa Gardi, a TV news anchor killed in Iraq in February while investigating an Islamic State-built mass grave.
Violence against freelancers: One third of the journalists killed were freelancers, and the report's authors underscored how dangerous it can be to work "on spec," going off on assignment without editors' help or supervision in the hopes that news outlets will purchase the completed work. The report cites the case of Kim Wall, a Swedish freelance reporter killed in August in an amateur-built submarine, which she boarded in Copenhagen to interview its owner, Peter Madsen. (Mr. Madsen, now facing murder charges, admitted to dismembering Ms. Wall and dumping her body parts, but he says her death was an accident.)
Differing estimates: Earlier this week, the organization Reporters Without Borders released its own report counting 65 journalists killed this year. Like the CPJ, Reporters Without Borders noted that deaths were trending downward and that more female journalists were killed. The CPJ's report notes that it is also investigating 20 additional deaths that it has not definitively linked to journalism work.
Where the danger is
The big picture: For the first time in six years, Syria – which has been engulfed in civil war since 2012 – was not at the top of the list of deadliest countries. Seven journalists were killed there in 2017, and eight died in neighbouring Iraq, which saw an aggressive push this year against the militant group Islamic State.
One journalist's story: Arkan Sharifi was a cameraman for Kurdistan TV who was was stabbed to death in October by eight masked men who broke into his home in north-central Iraq, locking his wife and children in another room. A fellow Kurdistan TV reporter said the men identified themselves as members of the Iraqi-led Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of mostly Shia militias, whose clashes with Kurdish peshmerga had been covered by the network.
The big picture: Killings were at a record high in 2017, though the CPJ cautioned that violence and corruption in the country makes it hard to verify the motives behind those deaths. Six journalists died in Mexico this year, the most of any country not in a conflict zone.
One journalist's story: Javier Valdez Cárdenas was a reporter and co-founder of Riodoce, an investigative weekly that focused on organized crime and corruption in the Sinaloa region, home to some of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels. Mr. Valdez was shot in May near his offices in Culiacán, Sinaloa's capital. Here is Riodoce's collected coverage of his death and the investigation of who is responsible for it.
Read more about the slain journalists of 2017 in bio pages on the CPJ website.
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