December 22, 2018
VIENNA - Press freedom faced a slew of attacks around the world in 2018, as political leaders unwilling to accept scrutiny increasingly jail, prosecute or undermine the credibility of critical journalists, says the International Press Institute (IPI).
The Vienna-based global organization of editors, journalists and media executives in its Death Watch said as many as 78 journalists were killed in 2018.
“There is a growing movement, including in countries once seen as guarantors of fundamental rights, aimed at destroying the press as an institution of democracy," IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said.
“This atmosphere of intolerance toward independent journalism is putting the lives and freedom of journalists at risk and threatening the public’s right to know."
IPI has been compiling annual data on the killings of journalists since 1997 as part of its press freedom and safety of journalists programs.
The Death Watch data for 2018 show that as many as 28 reporters and journalists were killed in targeted attacks during the year, while 11 died covering armed conflict.
Mexico and Afghanistan were the deadliest countries for journalists overall, with 13 deaths each.
"Impunity for crimes against journalists remained at a shockingly high level in 2018. Prominently, Saudi Arabia has refused to hold those responsible for the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to account, while Slovak authorities have yet to arrest the mastermind behind the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak in February," the IPI said in a statement.
"Governments around the world are dragging their feet in investigating murders of journalists," IPI Head of Advocacy Ravi R Prasad said.
"Investigations in a large number of cases are slow and tardy, due in many cases to a lack of political will to bring the killers and perpetrators to justice,” he said.
Despite a small decrease in the number of journalists killed compared to the previous year, 2018 witnessed an overall decline in the state of press freedom worldwide amid a trend of increased harassment and intimidation of journalists and attacks on independent media, the IPI said. - Agencies
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A study conducted by JournalismPakistan.com and Communications Research Strategies on the economic situation of slain journalists' families and journalists displaced due to security threats.