Afghanistan followed by Mexico, Pakistan, India emerge dangerous for journalists in 2021

Geneva/Guwahati : Afghanistan and Mexico are the most
dangerous countries for media work this year, the Press Emblem
Campaign (PEC) said in its annual report in Geneva on Thursday in view
of Human Rights Day. Since 1 January, 76 media workers have been
killed in 28 countries around the world.

Afghanistan leads with 12 assassinations, ahead of Mexico where 10
journalists were killed. Among the most dangerous countries are
Pakistan (7), India (6), Yemen (4), Democratic Republic of Congo (3)
and the Philippines (3 killed).

Two deaths were recorded in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil,
Burkina-Faso, Colombia, as well as in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria,
Somalia and Turkey. Finally, one victim has been identified in the
following countries: Ecuador, Gaza, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala,
Haiti, Lebanon, Netherlands, Syria, and the United States of America.
Of the 76 journalists murdered, 29 were in war zones (Afghanistan,
Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, DRC, Ethiopia, Gaza, Somalia, Syria, and
Yemen). Terrorist groups were responsible of at least 20 murders
(Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen), an increase
compared to previous years.

The PEC strongly condemns these attacks and calls for those
responsible for these crimes to be brought to justice. By region,
Asia, with 39 dead (+6), is ahead of Latin America 17 (-10), Africa 14
(+5), Europe 5 (+2) and North America 1 (+1).

“The number of journalists killed decreased by 8% compared to the same
period of last year, a slight improvement. Improvement has taken place
in Latin America outside of Mexico, deterioration is observed in
Africa and Europe. Mexico and Afghanistan have been among the most
dangerous countries for journalists for many years, but the rise in
Africa is particularly worrying”, commented PEC Secretary General
Blaise Lempen.

In Europe, the targeted killings of 3 journalists, in Greece, Georgia
and the Netherlands is a very sad development. In Burma (Myanmar)
after the coup and in Afghanistan after the departure of the NATO
troops, press freedom has registered a very serious setback.
Over the last 5 years, Mexico has recorded the highest victims (66),
ahead of Afghanistan (53), then India (40), Pakistan (35), Syria (29),
the Philippines (21), Iraq (18), Yemen (17), and Somalia (16). In ten
years, from 2012 to 2021, 1150 journalists were killed, or 115 per
year, 2.2 per week, according to figures from the PEC.

One positive development, says PEC President Hedayat Abdel Nabi is
that the awareness across the globe has become more widespread due to
the enthusiastic engagement of media colleagues to spread the message
of media protection and the safety of journalists as well as press
freedom.

“India has recently lost Buddhinath Jha (journalist cum Right to
Information (RTI) activist, also known as Avinash Jha), whose body was
found in Madhubani locality of Bihar on 12 November. The
Benipatti-based family claimed that Buddhinath was offered a lot of
money (as bribes) by some illegal healthcare clinic owners, but he did
not listen to them. Later he received a number of threatening calls
from unknown persons,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative.
Prior to him, the populous country lost five journalists namely Ashu
Yadav, Sulabh Srivastava, Ch. Keshav, Manish Kumar Singh and Raman
Kashyap to assailants this year. Indian photojournalist Danish
Siddiqui was killed in Afghanistan. India’s two neighbours Pakistan
and Bangladesh reported (7 and 2 respectively) media casualties,
however Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet (China), Maldives, Sri Lanka and Myanmar
have not reported any incident of journo-murder till date this year.

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