PFIF Condemns ” 2018 , Bad Year On Journalists “

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Following the report published by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), noting that 2018 was a bad year for journalists around the world, Paris Francophone Institute for Freedoms condemned the continuing attacks on journalists around the world, especially those in war-torn countries.

Based on this report from a recognized international press organization, PFIF called on all organizations, led by the United Nations, to continue collective efforts to reduce these incidents by intensifying safety campaigns for journalists working in all fields, especially in conflict and war.

The International Federation of Journalists says the deadliest country for people who work in the news media in 2018 was Afghanistan.

The Brussels-based organisation counted 94 journalists and media workers worldwide who died in targeted killings, bomb attacks and conflict crossfire – 12 more than the previous year.

“Conflict zones are evidently dangerous zones for journalists and this year 16 journalists were killed in Afghanistan, but the second most dangerous country for journalists in the world was Mexico,” said the IFJ’s President, Philippe Leruth.

In June a gunman in Annapolis in Maryland opened fire in the newsroom of a local newspaper, fatally shooting four journalists and a sales associate.

“The very fact is that journalists are special targets,” said Philippe Leruth.

“The killing of a journalist is like killing a civilian and we say no. Journalists are targeted because they are witnesses and the result of this, when a journalist or when many journalists are killed in a country, you see an increase of self-censorship.”

‘Nine out of 10 journalist murders go unpunished’

The much-publicised killing of Saudi exile Jamal Khashoggi, who also wrote for The Washington Post, had worldwide impact.

“Jamal Khashoggi was not murdered, he was slaughtered in a horrible way,” said Philippe Leruth.

“He was a very well known figure, but you know the most shocking statistic is that we know that nine out of 10 journalist murders remain unpunished in the world. It comes from a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) report and even though the Jamal Khashoggi case is well known, we won’t probably never know with certainty who gave the order to kill him.”

Hundreds imprisoned

Meanwhile, over 250 journalists around the world have been imprisoned for their work, with more than half of them in Turkey, China and Egypt, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalism.

They include two reporters for the Reuters news agency whose imprisonment in Myanmar has drawn international criticism.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has expressed his concern over press freedom.

“This year I sent two rather different Christmas cards to Myanmar journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are both in prison this Christmas because they wanted to report on the Rakhine crisis where there’s been some alleged genocide against the Rohingya people in Burma. They were arrested and we are very worried about due process in this case.”

“This is a year when we’ve seen a big increase in the number of journalists who have been locked up,” Mr Hunt said, “and indeed far worse, murdered. And that number is going up.

“Why does this matter? Because if you believe in an open society and a free society, then the thin red line between open and closed societies, is whether journalists can do their work and hold power to account. And that’s why this matters to all of us.”

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