RSF: The Number of Journalists Killed or Arrested This Year Decreases Worldwide, Despite the Massacre in the Gaza Strip

The number of journalists killed worldwide in connection with their professional work has reached the lowest level since 2002, as 45 deaths were registered by December 1, 2023. This decrease occurs despite the conflict in the Middle East. In addition, globally, 521 journalists are currently detained on arbitrary grounds related to their profession (down 8.4% from 2022), according to the annual report of the Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

According to the study, at least 17 journalists were killed while reporting from the battlefields between Israel and Hamas, and 13 of them died in Gaza alone; it is specified that their total number reaches 56 if all those killed in the Gaza Strip in circumstances unproven to be related to their duties are taken into account.

“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,” Christophe Deloire, RSF Secretary-General, specifies.

The authors of the research explain the decrease in the number of deaths among journalists who were practicing their profession in the last five years due to an increased level of security steps taken by media outlets for protecting journalists on their missions, especially due to a significant decrease of the number of journalists who lost their lives in Iraq, Syria, and Latin America. Approximately 600 journalists were killed from 2003 to 2022 in Iraq and Syria, and in 2023, six deaths were registered in Latin America, which is 20 cases fewer than last year. These statistics do not demonstrate any improvement in the journalists’ position, the authors note, but rather demonstrate that organized crime and corruption rank first on the list of issues which can cost journalists their lives.

Belarus becomes one of the countries where journalists’ freedom is largely limited, alongside China and Myanmar.

More than half of the journalists imprisoned worldwide are in China, Myanmar, Belarus, and Vietnam. China ranks first, with almost a quarter (23%) of the total number of journalists detained worldwide. 39 journalists are currently imprisoned in Belarus, the country which has the second highest number of female journalists in prison.

521 journalists will begin 2024 in jail, compared to 569 in 2022, according to the RSF study. This decrease is mainly due to the practices of persecuting journalists in Iran and Turkey, the countries where the same journalists are repeatedly arrested.

A total of 54 journalists are currently held hostage around the globe, and 84 are missing, according to RSF’s report prepared at the end of the year.

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