Russia’s war in Ukraine and increased violence by criminal groups in Mexico contributed to a 30% increase in the number of journalists killed while doing their jobs in 2022 over the previous year, according to a new report released Friday.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said that so far this year, 67 reporters and media workers were killed doing their jobs worldwide, up from 47 in 2021.
The war in Ukraine is responsible for 12 journalist killings, the highest number of the 21 countries in which fatal incidents have been recorded so far in 2022, the IFJ said.
Most were Ukrainians, but the list includes other nationalities such as American documentary filmmaker Brent Renaud.
Many fatalities occurred in the first chaotic weeks after the invasion, though threats to journalists continue as the conflict drags on.
“But the reign of terror by criminal organizations in Mexico, and the breakdown of law and order in Haiti, have also contributed to the rise in killings, with 11 and 6 deaths documented respectively,” the IFJ said.
2022 has been one of the deadliest years for reporters in Mexico, which is considered the most dangerous country to practice the profession away from a war zone.
In addition, 375 journalists are imprisoned for their work, most of them in China, Myanmar and Turkey, the Brussels-based group added. Last year’s report listed 365 in this situation.
With violent deaths on the rise, the IFJ called on governments to take more concrete steps to protect journalists and press freedom.
“Inaction will only embolden those who seek to end the free flow of information and undermine people’s ability to hold their leaders accountable, including ensuring that those with power and influence do not stand in the way of open and inclusive societies,” said the group’s secretary general, Anthony Bellanger, in a statement.
He also counted five journalist deaths in the political crisis that has rocked Pakistan this year and warned of new threats to reporters in Colombia, as well as the continued danger they face in the Philippines despite the change of president.
The IFJ also denounced the murder of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead while reporting from a Palestinian refugee camp. This week, the Arab broadcaster formally requested the International Criminal Court to investigate the death.
The group represents 600,000 media professionals, unions and associations from more than 140 countries. The report was published on the eve of United Nations Human Rights Day.