According to a recent report from media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, there was a significant drop in the number of journalists killed in the line of duty this year, despite the numerous deaths of reporters in Gaza in the past two months.
For the first 11 months of 2023, 45 journalists were killed carrying out their work, down from 61 last year. Due to a major drop in Latin America, this is the smallest number since 2022, when 33 died.
The decline is due to efforts by inter-governmental organizations and NGOs to combat impunity, as well as to greater “prudence” by reporters themselves, RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire said.
While some 63 journalists have been killed in the Middle East since the October 7 start of the Israel-Hamas war, only 17 of those deaths fell under the RSF’s definition. 13 were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza, 3 died in Lebanon, and one was killed in Israel by Hamas. The RSF in November said it filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court for “war crimes” for those deaths.
The sharpest drop in recorded deaths was in Latin America, where 6 reporters were killed, down from 26 in 2022. The number of jailed reporters also declined to 521 from 569, with Belarus joining China and Myanmar as “one of the three biggest prisons in the world.” Turkey and Iran were also cited as repeatedly jailing journalists.
The Philippines was mentioned in the report, which is still considered among the world’s most dangerous for journalists, although it said that the new government has seemed to loosen constraints on the media.
Those of us in the media hope that the trend is not a fluke and holds steady in the coming years that threaten to be more turbulent as conflicts continue to rage, as we desperately wish for a world where media workers no longer have to worry about violence and persecution as they do their jobs, which is to simply report the facts and enlighten minds to make better choices and decisions when it comes to important issues and concerns, whether globally or locally.
Government will play a significant role in protecting the members of the fourth estate and allowing them to do their job. We in the media continue to be hopeful that our leader’s words and excuses will soon be backed by concrete action and policies that can truly make our workplace and country better.*