Russia’s war in Ukraine, chaos in Haiti and rising violence by criminal groups in Mexico have contributed to a rise in the number of journalists killed doing their work in 2022, according to a new report by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
The IFJ said on Friday that 67 journalists and media workers have been killed around the world so far this year, up from 47 in 2021.
More media workers were killed covering the war in Ukraine – 12 in total – than in any other country this year, according to the IFJ. Most of them were Ukrainian journalists but several foreign reporters also died, with many deaths occurring in the first chaotic weeks of the war.
The IFJ report also called out the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed by Israeli forces on May 11 as she was covering an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp in Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank. The Al Jazeera network this week formally requested the International Criminal Court investigate and prosecute those responsible for killing Abu Akleh.
The report, released on the eve of the United Nations Human Rights Day, also shows that “political repression has reared its ugly head” in 2022. IFJ recorded at least 375 media professionals –10 more than last year – currently in prison for doing their job.
Most of those jailed are in China, Myanmar, Turkey, Iran and Belarus.
With the number of media workers killed on the rise, the IFJ and other media rights groups have called on governments to take more concrete action to protect journalists as well as media freedom.
“The failure to act will only embolden those who seek to suppress the free flow of information and undermine the ability of people to hold their leaders to account, including in ensuring that those with power and influence do not stand in the way of open and inclusive societies,” IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said in a statement.
The IFJ also said “the rule by terror of criminal organizations in Mexico, and the breakdown of law and order in Haiti, have also contributed to the surge in killings” and that 2022 has been one of the deadliest ever for journalists in Mexico, which is now considered the most dangerous country for reporters outside a war zone.
The Brussels-based IFJ, which represents 600,000 media professionals from trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries, also recorded five journalists’ deaths amid this year’s political crisis in Pakistan. The organisation warned of new threats to journalists in Colombia and continued danger for journalists in the Philippines, despite new leadership there.