The United Nations highlights the high rates of killing of journalists in 2022
UNESCO highlighted the alarming surge in killings of journalists in 2022 with 86 journalists and media workers killed worldwide – a 50% increase on the previous year.
UNESCO is mandated to ensure freedom of expression and the safety of journalists globally, and the UN agency said its statements highlight the grave risks and vulnerabilities journalists face in their work.
However, UNESCO’s toll was lower than the number of journalists killed in 2022, according to the Geneva-based campaign Press Emblem, which said on December 14 that 115 were killed last year, a 45% increase compared to the previous year, the highest. The number of victims since 2018.
“After several years of consecutive declines, the sharp rise in the number of journalists killed in 2022 is alarming,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.
“The authorities must intensify their efforts to stop these crimes and ensure that the perpetrators are punished, as indifference is a major factor in this climate of violence.”
The UNESCO Observatory of Killed Journalists said the sudden rise in homicides in 2022 marks a dramatic reversal of the positive trend in recent years: from 99 killings in 2018, the number has fallen to an average of 58 deaths per year from 2019 to 2021.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stated that the figures highlight the growing divisions in rule of law systems around the world, noting the failure of countries to fulfill their obligations to protect journalists, prevent crimes committed against them, and prosecute the perpetrators.
While every region was affected, Latin America and the Caribbean were the deadliest for journalists in 2022, with 44 people killed, more than half the worldwide death toll.
The Asia-Pacific region recorded 16 deaths, while 11 were killed in Eastern Europe.
The deadliest individual countries were Mexico (19 dead), Ukraine (10) and Haiti (9).
Half of the journalists killed while off duty
Nearly half of the journalists killed were off duty when they were targeted – while traveling, at home, or in parking lots and other public places where they were not on assignment.
This trend marks a trend in recent years and means there are no safe spaces for journalists, even in their spare time.
While the number of journalists killed in countries afflicted by conflict rose to 23 in 2022, compared to 20 in the previous year, the global increase was primarily driven by killings in non-conflict countries.
That number nearly doubled from 35 in 2021 to 61 in 2022, accounting for three-quarters of all homicides last year.
Journalists have been killed for various reasons, including reprisals for covering organized crime and armed conflict or the rise of extremism and for covering sensitive topics such as corruption, environmental crime, abuse of power and protests.
Besides murder, journalists continue to face threats of multiple forms of violence ranging from enforced disappearance, kidnapping, arbitrary detention, legal harassment and digital violence, especially against women journalists, UNESCO said.