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Journalists under attack: 65 killed, more than 200 jailed in 2020

Posted: Friday, March 12, 2021. 6:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says some 65 journalists and media workers were killed last year while working and another 200 and more have been imprisoned, the Associated Press reports.

The figure is 17 more than 2019 and matches the death toll in the 1990s, according to the IFJ annual report on violence against the press published on Friday.

The killings of journalists took place in 16 different countries during targeted attacks, bomb attacks, and crossfire incidents. A total of 2,680 journalists have been killed since the IFJ started keeping count in 1990.

Mexico saw 14 killings, the fourth time in five years it has topped the list, followed by Afghanistan with 10; Pakistan with nine; India with eight; four each in the Philippines and Syria; three each in Nigeria and Yemen; two each in Iraq and Somalia, and Bangladesh, Cameroon, Honduras, Paraguay, Russia, and Sweden all reported one journalist killed.

“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,” said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger.

229 journalists have been imprisoned as of this month because of their work worldwide, led by 67 in Turkey, 23 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,” Bellanger said.

The Associated Press highlighted the situation of its journalist Thein Zaw, arrested in Myanmar while covering demonstrations against the military’s seizure of power. A court in Myanmar on Friday extended his pre-trial detention period.

Thein Zaw, 32, and at least six other members of the media have been charged with violating a public order law, according to his lawyer and the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The association says 38 journalists have been detained since Myanmar’s military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, and 19 are still incarcerated.


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