The Islamist attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo made France the third deadliest country for journalists in 2015, just behind Syria and Iraq, media freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Tuesday.
Sixty-seven journalists were killed globally this year, either targeted because of their work or dying while reporting, Paris-based RSF said in its annual report. Some 27 citizen (amateur)journalists and seven media workers were also killed.
“The majority aren’t journalists in the wrong place at the wrong time during a bombing raid, they’re journalists who are murdered to stop them from doing their jobs,” RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire told Reuters.
“Today if you’re a journalist, even if your audience is just readers in your country… you’re exposing yourself to nutcases on the other side of the world, groups of religious extremists, that could put you on a blacklist, and then other people take action and come and kill you.”
Eight journalists died in Paris on Jan. 7 when Islamist gunmen attacked Charlie Hebdo’s offices, the first such assault in a Western country. It meant that this year two-thirds of the reporters who died while working were killed in a country at peace, RSF said – the exact opposite of 2014.
Eleven journalists were killed in Iraq and 10 in Syria this year, the two most lethal countries for journalists. The fourth most deadly country was Yemen, followed by South Sudan, India, Mexico, the Philippines and Honduras.
The 2015 death toll is one more than in 2014 and slightly below the average of the past 10 years. Separately, RSF also compiled for the first time the number of journalists who died for unclear reasons – 43 in 2015.