RSF: Journalist Deaths are Down, But the Reasons Aren’t All Good

Outlet closures and censorship may have contributed.

In its annual report released this month, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) put the number of journalist deaths connected to their work as journalists at 74. The count differs from CPJ’s report, also released this month, the result of differing methodologies. If you add CPJ’s tally of deaths resulting from unconfirmed motives to its count, the figures are almost identical.

While the numbers differed, both organizations noted a drop in deaths, and both organizations indicated that the drop was not representative, necessarily, of positive developments. From RSF’s report:

This significant fall is due in part to the fact that more and more journalists are fleeing countries that have become too dangerous: not only Syria, Iraq, and Libya, but also Yemen, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Burundi, which have now also become, to varying degrees, news and information black holes where impunity reigns. Another reason for the drop is the terror imposed by press freedom predators, who close media outlets arbitrarily and impose censorship. Regardless of their courage, journalists in countries such as Mexico or South Sudan have no choice but to censor themselves to avoid being murdered.

RSF also re-ups its call for the United Nations to appoint a “journalists’ protector” with a mandate for going after those who go after journalists.

Read the report here.