Watchdog: Most journalists killed in 2016 were targeted

PARIS: Most of the 74 journalists and media producers killed in 2016 were deliberately targeted, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Monday.
Fewer journalists were killed in 2016 than the previous year, RSF said, but it warned that the drop was largely due to journalists fleeing places that had become too dangerous.
“The violence against journalists is more and more deliberate,” said RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire in a statement.” They are clearly being targeted and murdered because they are journalists.” Seventy-two per cent of the 74 journalists and media producers killed in 2016 were murdered or deliberately targeted, RSF said, while 28 per cent were killed in the course of reporting.
For the first time, the watchdog included citizen journalists and media contributors in their annual report.
When journalists flee places that are too violent, they also leave behind “information black holes where impunity reigns,” the watchdog said.
Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Burundi were particularly affected by the exodus of journalists.
France, responding to the report, raised concerns and called for the implementation of a United Nations resolution that was adopted in May2015 and aimed at reinforcing the safety of journalists in conflict zones.
“Sorely tested with the attack against Charlie Hebdo on January 7,2015, France is committed to the freedom of the press and the protection of journalists.
In conducting their work, it is also our liberty they defend,” a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Twelve people were killed at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdowhen two extremists attacked the magazine’s Paris headquarters.
RSF’s report said that most of those killed in 2016 were local journalists, and most worked in conflict zones.
Thirty-five per cent worked in non-conflict zones, 5 per cent were foreign journalists and5 per cent were women.
The deadliest countries for journalists to work were Syria,Afghanistan, Mexico, Iraq and Yemen, RSF said.
The head of RSF’s German branch said that Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia were countries where media safety and freedom were particularly at risk. — dpa