NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – One hundred journalists around the globe were killed in the course of their duty last year, an International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) report has revealed.,
Though the number had decreased from 175 deaths recorded in 2007, IFJ warned that this year could be the deadliest yet for journalists.
IFJ said the international community still needs to step up to confront the challenge of impunity in the innocent killing of journalists.
“We often see politicians, even in democratic countries showing callous indifference to the threats posed by attacks on journalists and media. That must end,” said IFJ secretary Aidan White in the report released yesterday.
In its latest report on journalists working conditions, Iraq remains the most dangerous country despite a substantial drop of media casualties from 65 in 2007 to 16 last year.
The other dangerous zones were Mexico and India with 10 deaths each recorded.
Kenya has recorded one death this year following murder of Kisii-based freelance journalist Francis Nyaruri. Police are investigating the incident.
IFJ said impunity was still a major threat as new wave of media killings wipes out optimism over death toll recorded in 2008.
“A wave of killings in the first days of the New Year have undermined hopes that the falling death toll recorded in 2008 was the first sign of a change in the pattern of killings which have risen dramatically in recent years,” said White.
He added: “The welcome relief brought about by the decline in the killings of journalists in 2008 has been shot lived.”
The statement was circulated to IFJ members worldwide after the federation launched a report entitled ‘ Perilous Assignments:
Journalists and media personnel killed in 2008.
The IFJ says the culture of impunity for crimes against journalists and the systematic failure to respect their rights deny journalists the protection they are entitled to in their work.
“The recent conflict in Gaza provides a powerful example of the dangers facing journalists,” added White.
Media personnel and installations were targeted by Israeli military, causing casualties, including two fatalities and extensive damage to property.
The IFJ was the first press freedom advocacy group to call for an investigation into the Israeli targeting of the media during the conflict in Gaza and is gathering information for a report on these heinous attacks, which will contribute to the investigation.