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Fifty-seven journalists and media workers were killed across the world last year, the United Nations says in a new report to mark the International Day to End of Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
In the first nine months of this year, 39 journalists have been killed, including 3 female journalists, the report released by UNESCO on Monday said, noting that this is the lowest death toll in the last decade.
Unprecedented global attention following high-profile cases and better mechanisms to improve the safety of journalists were potential reasons for the lower death toll recorded this year, the report said.
It added that journalists practising self-censorship in reaction to widespread threats could also be a factor.
In 2018, 99 journalists were killed globally, according to the report.
According to UNESCO’s data, the largest number of fatal attacks in 2019 – 23 killings – occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean region, representing 40 percent of the total killings registered worldwide.
With 15 killings, Asia and the Pacific region recorded 26 percent of the fatalities – the second-highest tally globally.
The Arab region was the third-deadliest with 18 percent of the recorded fatalities, amounting to 10 killings.
UNESCO said the lowest deaths were reported from Central and Eastern Europe.
In terms of countries, Mexico reported the highest fatalities with at least 12 journalists and media workers killed in the country last year.
In 2018, war-torn Afghanistan had the highest death toll with 16 such killings recorded.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said for too many journalists, “telling the truth comes at a price”.
“When journalists are attacked with impunity, there is a breakdown in security and judicial systems for all,” she said.
“States have an obligation to protect journalists” and judges and prosecutors must promote “swift and effective criminal proceedings” to ensure that perpetrators of crimes against them are held accountable, Azoulay said.