US Listed on Deadliest Countries for Journalists For First Time
For the first time ever, the United States has found itself on the list of the top six deadliest countries for journalists around the world.
The media advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, compiles an annual report assessing the level of violence and danger that journalists face around the world. In that report is a compilation of deadliest countries for journalists, which the U.S. landed on for the first time in the just-released 2018 annual report.
World’s Deadliest Countries For Journalists
The deadliest countries for journalists according to Reporters Without Borders are Afghanistan, Syria, Mexico, Yemen, the United States and India.
The world’s five deadliest countries for journalists include three — India, Mexico and, for the first time, the United States — where journalists were killed in cold blood, even though those countries weren’t at war or in conflict, the group said, the report said.
Reporters Without Borders revealed that 63 journalists were killed this year. This number represents a 15 percent increase over the figure for 2017. However, up to 80 citizen journalists or media workers have been killed in the world this year alone.
Afghanistan had the most media profession fatalities with 15, following behind was Syria with 11, Mexico with 9, Yemen with 8, and the United States and India tied with 6 fatalities each.
Propelling the U.S. onto the list were the deaths of four journalists among the five fatalities at the Capital Gazette newspaper shooting by a man who walked in and opened fire with a shotgun in their Annapolis, Maryland office last June. The disgruntled reader had been harassing the newspaper on social media for years about an article that named him in 2011.
The fifth and sixth journalists killed in the U.S. were a cameraman and a reporter who were killed by a falling tree while covering Subtropical Storm Alberto in North Carolina last May.
Also included in the report are numbers on how many journalists are imprisoned, held hostage, detained and what countries imprison the most journalists. As at December 2017, 326 journalists were in detention in many countries across the world. As of today, that number has increased to 348 worldwide. More than half of these are held in these five countries: China, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
High Profile Cases
Notable among the journalist murders this year were the high profile deaths of Jan Kuciak and Jamal Khashoggi. Kuciak was a Slovak journalist who was shot dead in his home along with his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, last February.
Kuciak reported on the presence of Italy’s Calabrian mafia, also known as the ‘Ndràngheta, in Slovakia politics and business. Several were arrested linked to Kuciak and Kusnirova’s murder including one woman with ties to Marián Kočner a Slovak businessman he had reported on.
Khashoggi was a Saudi columnist writing for the Washington Post after moving to the U.S. in 2017. Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Khashoggi was known for his criticism of the Saudi royal family and many suspect Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly ordered Khashoggi’s murder, sparking international outrage. But Saudi government officials have denied ordering the murder of Khashoggi.
In another case receiving international attention, two Reuters journalists reporting on the massacre of Rohingya civilians in Myanmar by soldiers were detained and sentenced to up to seven years in jail on what the report calls “a trumped-up charge of violating the Official Secrets Act.”