30 December 2020
In 2020, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s leading organization of the profession, recorded 60 killings of journalists and media personnel in targeted attacks, bomb blasts and crossfire in 16 countries around the world, 11 more than in 2019. Since 1990, the IFJ has recorded 2,676 deaths worldwide.
The year 2020 will go down in history as that of an unprecedented global pandemic crisis, but also as that of the resurgence of assassinations of journalists and media personnel around the world. With 60 murders in 2020, the macabre statistics are starting to rise again compared to 2019 (49).
IFJ records show that the current number of murders of media professionals is at the same level as in the 1990s, when the IFJ began publishing annual reports on journalists and media personnel killed, which showed spikes in mortality in the mid-1990s and mid-2000s.
Organized criminal cartels, extremist insurgency and sectarian violence continue to spread terror among journalists, dozens of whom have paid the ultimate price for independent reporting around the world.
In this regard, 2020 was no exception. The ruthless reign of crime barons in Mexico, the violence of extremists in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, and the intolerance of extremists in India and the Philippines have contributed to continued bloodshed in the media.
This year’s list includes, in particular, the murder of Russian journalist Irina Slavina, a case that may have revealed the level of absolute despair and discouragement in the face of relentless assaults on media professionals. The editor-in-chief of Koza Press set herself on fire in the city of Nizhny Novgorod to protest against the campaign of intimidation and harassment aimed at silencing her. In the end, this led to her fatal act, but only after she accused the authorities of taking responsibility for her act.
« The trends presented in our publications over the past 30 years, but also in 2020, clearly show everyone that there is no room for complacency. On the contrary, they are an urgent call to redouble our efforts to mobilize for greater protection of journalists and a commitment to the safe practice of journalism,” said IFJ Secretary-General Anthony Bellanger.
As of December 31, 2020, the IFJ ranks Asia-Pacific as the most dangerous region in the world with 27 murders, followed by Latin America (17). The countries of the Arab World and the Middle East recorded 8, ahead of Africa (6) and Europe (2).
In its 2020 country ranking, Mexico tops the list for the fourth time in five years with 14 murders, followed by India (8), Afghanistan (7), Pakistan (7), the Philippines (4) Syria (4) while Iraq and Nigeria recorded 3 murders each. There were also two murders in Somalia. Finally, a journalist was killed in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Honduras, Paraguay, Colombia, Russia, Sweden and Yemen.
For more information, please contact IFJ on ’32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries