The violence has reached to the unprecedented levels against journalists around the world. According to the figures released by French based media organisation Reporters without Borders, 80 journalists have been killed so far this year while 348 put in prison and 60 abducted. Saudi journalist Khashoogi was most prominent causality of 2018.
But on the contrary of world trend, the violence against journalists in Pakistan has gone down. The journalists are facing other issues at the moment in Pakistan including retrenchments, job losses and sackings. But violence against journalists has receded in the recent times. Pakistan is no more in the list of five most dangerous countries for journalists.
The head of RSF Christophe Deloire has said that “Violence against journalists has reached unprecedented levels this year, and the situation is now critical. The hatred of journalists sometimes very openly proclaimed by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen … has been reflected in this disturbing increase,” he said.
RSF did not directly point the finger at United States President Donald Trump, who regularly rails against journalists and has branded some journalists as “enemies of the people”. But Deloire said “expressions of hatred legitimize violence, thereby undermining journalism and democracy itself.”
The US also became the fifth deadliest country in the world for reporters in 2018 after the shooting of five people at the office of capital gazette newspaper in Maryland in June.
Afghanistan continues to top the table as the most dangerous country for journalists. 15 journalists have been killed in Afghanistan followed by Syria with 11 deaths and Mexico with nine. Deloire said the hate stirred up against journalists is “amplified by social networks, which bear heavy responsibility in this regard. Murders, imprisonment, hostage-taking and enforced disappearances have all increased,” he said, with the death toll of professional journalists up 15 percent after three years of a falling casualty rate.
Journalists have never before been subjected to as much violence and abusive treatment as in 2018,” Deloire said. Khashoggi’s murder in October caused an international outcry and showed the extremes to which “some people will go to silence ‘troublesome’ journalists”, RSF said. More than half of the journalists killed were deliberately targeted; the other 31 were caught in violence.
According to the RSF report, China is still the top country in the world to imprison its journalists, Followed by Turkey, Egypt and Iran. China is holding 60 journalists in prison, 46 of them non-professional bloggers, some of whom are held in “inhuman conditions for nothing more than a post on social networks”.
Egypt and Iran also made the blacklist of the worst offenders with 38 and 28 reporters and bloggers in prison respectively. Egyptian regime continues to target the independent journalists. Some are still behind bar even after getting release orders from courts.
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17 November, 2019