2020: India emerges as most dangerous country for scribes

Geneva/ Guwahati, 12 December 2020: India emerges as the most
dangerous country for working journalists in the world whereas the
pandemic year witnessed the killings of 84 media workers globally,
said Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) in its annual report in Geneva. The
number of journalists killed this year increases by 10% compared to
2019, added the international media rights body with demands to bring
those responsible for these crimes to justice.

India leads with 13 killings ahead of Mexico where 11 journalists were
assassinated. Among other dangerous countries include Pakistan (8
dead), Afghanistan (6), Iraq (5), the Philippines & Honduras (4 each),
Nigeria, Syria & Venezuela (3 each), Brazil, Guatemala, Liberia &
Somalia (2 each), Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cambodia, Russia, Sweden,
Cameroon, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Mozambique, Saudi
Arabia, Egypt, Turkey & Yemen (one each).

“Of the 84 journalists murdered this year, only 17 were in conflict
zones (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen). The rest were
targeted for their works in peaceful countries,” said Blaise Lempen,
general secretary of PEC (www.pressemblem.ch) adding that the Covid-19
pandemic might have helped to freeze some conflicts and also limit the
movement of journalists to dangerous areas.

More than 520 journalists have also died from Covid-19 since March.
Over the year, nearly 600 journalists died as a result of the violence
and the pandemic, a very heavy price, the worst since the Second World
War, asserted the PEC report. It also advocated for creating an
independent investigative mechanism within the framework of the United
Nations to fill any gap that may exist at the national level in terms
of prevention, protection and prosecution.

“India reported more casualties compared to all larger nations.
However it is still difficult to claim each victim among Shubham Mani
Tripathi, Vikram Joshi, Sunil Tiwari, Ratan Singh, Isravel Moses,
Suraj Pandey, Uday Paswan, G Nagaraj, Rakesh Singh, Ganta Naveen,
Syed Adil Wahab, Bijendeep Tanti and Parag Bhuyan (killed in a
mysterious road accident) was targeted because of their works as
journalists,” said Nava Thakuria, the PEC’s country representative.
The populous country lost 52 journalists to corona-complications till
date and became the second most affected nation after Peru, stated
Thakuria adding that the pandemic has also left severe negative
impacts on the mainstream Indian media industry as many print-owners
stopped publishing physical newspapers and sighted to digital space,
some closed down their editions, cut salaries and even laid off
employees citing the reason of shrinking advertisement revenues during
the pandemic.

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