Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released a report on its ‘WorldWide Round-Up of Journalists’ killed, detained, held hostage, or missing in 2018, and the news is unsettling. More journalists were killed, abused, and subjected to violence in 2018 than in any other year on record.
RSF’s report details that 80 journalists were killed in 2018, including non-professional journalists and media workers. In all, 49 journalists (61% of the total) were intentionally targeted because their reporting threatened the interests of certain people in positions of political, economic, or religious power.
The cases of Ján Kuciak, a Slovak investigative reporter shot dead in his home, and Jamal Khashoggi, murdered in the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, shows how far some people will go to silence journalists.
In addition, it is reported that 348 reporters are currently being detained and 60 are being held hostage in countries across the globe.
“Violence against journalists has reached unprecedented levels this year, and the situation is now critical,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said. “The hatred of journalists that is voiced, and sometimes very openly proclaimed, by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders, and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists.”
Social media platforms play a huge role in aiding the growing hatred towards reporters and media personnel working to unveil the truth. “Amplified by social networks, which bear heavy responsibility in this regard, these expressions of hatred legitimize violence, thereby undermining journalism, and democracy itself, a bit more every day,” added Deloire in a statement which accompanied the released RSF report.
For reporters, citizen journalists, or just about anyone working in the media industry to reveal the truth and report on events happening across the globe, it is imperative to protect themselves and their identity online. On-screen hate towards media, as we have seen this year, in some cases translates into real violence, detainment, and worse for many journalists living in totalitarian countries where the regimes deliberately target journalists who do not conform to their propaganda.
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