Of 69 journalists who were killed in relation to their work in 2015, Islamic militants were responsible for killing 28 of them, or 40 percent, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. Nine killings took place in France, second only to Syria as the most deadly country for the press in 2015.
“Non-state actors ranging from Islamic militants to criminal gangs have become the most lethal threat to journalists worldwide, and account for the vast majority of killing that took place in the past year,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.
“Reversing this terrible trend will require delivering effective justice while also ensuring that journalists on the front line have the information and support they need to stay safe.”
Groups such as Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, the Taliban, and Al-Shabaab were responsible for murders of journalists in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Turkey, and Yemen, as well as France. In Bangladesh, Islamic extremists killed a publisher and four bloggers.
According to CPJ’s most recent annual prison census, more than half of the 199 journalists jailed by governments around the world are jailed on anti-state charges-showing how the press is being squeezed by terrorists on the one hand and by authorities purporting to fight terror on the other.
Worldwide, more than two thirds of the journalists killed in 2015 were murdered in direct reprisal for their work. At least 28 of the 47 murder victims received threats before they were killed. Six journalists were murdered in Brazil, the highest number CPJ has documented since it began keeping detailed records in 1992.
Registering for the first time on CPJ’s database of journalists killed were South Sudan, Poland, and Ghana.
One third of killings worldwide came at the hands of criminal groups, government officials, or local residents-in most cases, drug traffickers or local authorities suspected of being involved with organized crime.
The most common beat covered by victims was politics, followed by war and human rights. Broadcast reporter was the most dangerous job, with 25 killed. Twenty-nine victims worked online.