By Gohar Ali Khan
Peshawar: January 2, 2022- Like the previous the years, the year 2021 was, remain deadliest for the journalists and media workers around the world, as 45 journalists including three Pakistani journalists have been killed in different countries of the world during the past year. According to annual report, about the journalists and media professionals, published by The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ),45 Journalists and media professionals have been killed during 2021 in 20 countries, a drop from 65 killings recorded last year in 2020. While 14 Afghan journalists have evacuated by Reporter without Border (RSF) from Afghanistan since October 15, and they have safely arrived in France, after the fall of Taliban in Afghanistan.
According to the report released by IFJ, since 1991, according to the IFJ figures, 2721 journalists have killed around the world.
The figure represents one of the lowest death tolls since the IFJ began publishing annual reports on journalists killed in work-related incidents, including targeted killings, crossfire fatalities as well as bomb attacks. The Asia Pacific region tops the regional list with 20 killings, before the Americas (10), Africa (8), Europe (6) and the Middle East and Arab World on just one. There was also a deadly accident, which cost the lives of two journalists in Iran.
While this decrease is welcome news, it is small comfort in the face of continued violence, which claimed lives of journalists in countries like Afghanistan (9), Mexico (8), India (4) and Pakistan (3).
This also provides further evidence for a recurring finding in these publications that more journalists and media workers more often than not are killed for exposing corruption, crime and abuse of power in their communities, cities and countries.
The risks associated with armed conflict have reduced in recent years due to limited exposure for media professionals who are increasingly fewer in reporting close-up from War Theater. At the same time, the threats of crime gang and drug cartels’ rule from the slums in Mexico to the streets of European cities in Greece and the Netherlands continue to increase and account for many targeted killings of media workers in 2021.
“These 45 colleagues we lost to violence this year remind us of the terrible sacrifice journalists across the world continue to pay for serving the public interest and we remain in the debt to them and thousands of others who paid the ultimate price,” said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger. “The IFJ believes that the only tribute fit for the cause to which they gave their lives should be unrelenting pursuit for justice to them. That’s why we continue to advocate for the adoption of a new United Nations Convention for the protection of journalists which would ensure accountability for journalists’ killings.”
Similarly, Paris based media watchdog organization Reporter without border (RSF) is assisting vulnerable Afghan journalists in their evacuation from Afghanistan, in a monthly report published by reporter without border (RSF). According to the report, so far 14 Afghan Journalists have arrived in France since October, accompanied by 40 family members. The monthly report of RSF says that, RSF Germany and RSF Spain have also continued their coordination work with the authorities in their respective countries. Thus, 12 Afghan journalists have arrived in Spain, for a total of 35 people with their family members, while 168 people, including 54 media professionals, are now in Germany. In parallel, the Assistance desk continues its efforts to support Afghan journalists in exile in neighboring countries through grants to cover their basic needs, as well as by supporting their visa applications to different embassies.