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A motorcycle is at the site where the body of journalist Julio Valdivia was found in Tezonapa, Mexico, on Sept. 9, 2020, in this image obtained via social media.

DIARIO EL MUNDO/Reuters

A total of 65 journalists and media workers were killed worldwide in 2020 while doing their jobs, according to the International Federation of Journalists.

That is 17 more than in 2019, and the death toll is around the same level as in the 1990s, the federation said Friday as it published details of its annual report on killings.

The IFJ said the killings took place in 16 different countries during targeted attacks, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents.

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A total of 2,680 journalists have been killed since the IFJ started keeping count in 1990.

“The ruthless reign of crime barons in Mexico, the violence of extremists in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, as well as the intolerance of hardliners in India and the Philippines have contributed to the continued bloodshed in media,” IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said.

For the fourth time in five years, Mexico topped the list of countries where the most journalists were killed, with 14 killings. It was followed by 10 deaths in Afghanistan; nine in Pakistan, eight in India, four each in the Philippines and Syria, and three each in Nigeria and Yemen. There were also killings in Iraq, Somalia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Honduras, Paraguay, Russia and Sweden.

In addition to the deaths, the IFJ said at least 229 journalists were in prison across the world as of March, 2021, because of their work. The federation said Turkey is “the biggest jailer of journalists in the world” – with at least 67 media workers in its cells. That was followed by 23 journalists detained in China, 20 in Egypt, 16 in Eritrea and 14 in Saudi Arabia.

“No democracy worthy of that name can jail messengers of freedom of expression,” Mr. Bellanger said.

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