2023: 45 Journalists Killed In Line Of Duty Worldwide, A Drop Despite Tragedy In Gaza

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According to the annual round-up compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the number of journalists killed worldwide in connection with their work (45 as of 1 December 2023) is the lowest since 2002, despite the war in the Middle East. 

In Gaza, at least 13 journalists have been killed because of their work as journalists since the war began between Israel and Hamas, a total that rises to 56 if we include all journalists killed in the Gaza Strip, whether or not in the line of their work. Worldwide, 521 journalists are currently detained on arbitrary grounds linked to their profession (down 8.4% from 2022).

“Among civilians in Gaza, journalists are paying a heavy price. We’ve noted that the number of journalists killed in connection with their work is very high: at least 13 in such a tiny territory. We have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to establish the facts and to what point journalists were knowingly targeted. On a global scale, it seems that the number of journalists killed in the course of their work or in connection with their work is in sharp decline, over a long period of time. The reasons? Security measures at news organisations, training and allocation of protective equipment, caution, the effects of the fight against impunity and actions by inter-governmental organisations. The work of NGOs is undoubtedly also having an effect…,” said Christophe Deloire, RSF Secretary-General.

In 2023, a total of 45 journalists were killed in connection with their work, 16 fewer than in 2022 (61). This is the lowest figure recorded since 2002 (33). In 2012 and 2013, more than 140 journalists were killed, mainly due to the wars in Syria and Iraq.

The gradual decline in the number of journalists killed in connection with their work over the past five years can be explained in part by security improvements for journalists and the end of deadly spikes in Iraq and Syria, where nearly 600 journalists were killed in the line of duty from 2003 to 2022. In times of peace, stronger measures to protect journalistic work, especially through legislative means, and mechanisms to combat impunity would seem to account for the less deadly toll.

Although the number of journalists killed in Latin America has fallen significantly, from 26 in 2022 to six in 2023, working as a journalist in this region is still not safe, as recent abductions and armed attacks in Mexico demonstrate. The record level of violence registered in Latin America in 2022 has led to self-censorship, resulting in the proliferation of information black holes in the region, where organised crime and corruption top the list of topics that can cost journalists their lives.

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