Fewer journalists killed in the first half of 2023: PEC
Geneva: Fewer journalists were killed in the first six months of this year, the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said on Thursday. Since 1 January, 27 journalists have paid for their profession with their lives in 17 countries. This is the lowest figure recorded for more than 15 years. Although the number of deaths is falling, arbitrary arrests, beatings, threats, and censorship continue to be reported on every continent.
“This casualty figure is still high, but it is moving in the right direction. There is hope that the mobilisation of governments, the UN, media fraternity, and NGOs are beginning to show results”, said PEC president Blaise Lempen, adding that all these crimes must be fully and independently investigated and those responsible arrested and brought to justice.
Last year for the same period, marked by the start of the war in Ukraine, a record 75 journalists were killed (116 for the whole of 2022), and the previous year 36 (79 for the whole of 2021). The measures taken in Ukraine to limit journalists’ access to combat zones and strictly control their accreditation have had an effect, despite the deaths of two journalists in the country since January. Ukrainian Bogdan Bitik, who worked for La Repubblica, and Frenchman Arman Soldin, a reporter for AFP, were shot at by the Russian army.
From 1 January to 30 June, the number of victims was the highest in Mexico, with four murders. Mexico remains the most dangerous country for journalists, with an ongoing climate of violence. Three journalists were murdered in Cameroon. There were two victims each in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Haiti, and Ukraine. Only one victim is recorded in Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, Lesotho, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, and the United States of America.
PEC’s South & Southeast Asia representative Nava Thakuria informed that Afghanistan lost two radio journalists (Husein Naderi and Akmal Nazari, both worked for Afghan Voice Agency) to assailants on 11 March. India witnessed the murder of Shashikant Warishe from Maharashtra on 7 February and the mysterious death of Abdur Rauf Alamgir in Assam on 26 June. Similarly, Bangladesh recorded the killing of Ashiqul Islam on 9 January and Golam Rabbani Nadim on 15 June. Pakistan lost Imtiaz Baig in Punjab province on 4 May last.