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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

The takeaways

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.

Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, shown in 2011.

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.

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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.)

Swedish journalist Kim Wall, shown in 2015.

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

Middle East

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.

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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.

The journalists

Read more about the slain journalists of 2017 in bio pages on the CPJ website.

Journalists killed in 2017

NameDateWhere killedType of death
Abdul Hakim Shimul2/3/2017BangladeshDangerous assignment
Abdullahi Osman Moalim9/13/2017SomaliaMurder
Alaa Kraym (Mohammed al-Qabouni)5/4/2017SyriaCrossfire
Ali Nur Siad10/14/2017SomaliaDangerous assignment
Arkan Sharifi10/30/2017IraqMurder
Cecilio Pineda Birto3/2/2017MexicoMurder
Christopher Allen8/26/2017South SudanCrossfire
Christopher Iban Lozada10/26/2017PhilippinesMurder
Daphne Caruana Galizia10/16/2017MaltaMurder
Dilshan Ibash10/12/2017SyriaCrossfire
Dmitry Popkov5/24/2017RussiaMurder
Edgar Daniel Esqueda Castro10/5/2017MexicoMurder
Gauri Lankesh9/5/2017IndiaMurder
Habibollah Hosseinzadeh5/31/2017AfghanistanDangerous assignment
Harb Hazzah al-Duleimi7/7/2017IraqCrossfire
Hawker Faisal Mohammed10/13/2017SyriaCrossfire
Hussain Nazari11/17/2017AfghanistanDangerous assignment
Javier Valdez Cárdenas5/15/2017MexicoMurder
Joaquin Briones3/13/2017PhilippinesMurder
Khaled al-Khateb7/30/2017SyriaCrossfire
Kim Wall8/10/2017DemarkDangerous assignment
Louay Sadiq Meshaal10/1/2017IraqCrossfire
Luís Gustavo da Silva7/14/2017BrazilMurder
María Efigenia Vásquez Astudillo10/8/2017ColombiaCrossfire
Maximino Rodríguez4/14/2017MexicoMurder
Miroslava Breach Velducea3/23/2017MexicoMurder
Mohamed Abazied (George Samara)3/12/2017SyriaCrossfire
Nikolai Andrushchenko4/19/2017RussiaMurder
Osama Nasr al-Zoabi8/21/2017SyriaCrossfire
Qais al-Jazar (Qais al-Qadhi)10/29/2017SyriaCrossfire
Salvador Adame Pardo6/1/2017MexicoMurder
Shantanu Bhowmik9/20/2017IndiaDangerous assignment
Shifa Zikri Ibrahim (Shifa Gardi)2/25/2017IraqCrossfire
Stephane Villeneuve6/19/2017IraqCrossfire
Sudad Faris7/7/2017IraqCrossfire
Sudip Dutta Bhaumik11/21/2017IndiaMurder
Suhaib al-Heeti5/30/2017IraqDangerous assignment
Taimoor Khan2/12/2017PakistanDangerous assignment
Takieddin al-Hudhaifi5/26/2017YemenCrossfire
Veronique Robert6/24/2017IraqCrossfire
Wael al-Absi5/26/2017YemenCrossfire
Yameen Rasheed4/23/2017MaldivesMurder

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists


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