International journalists account for nearly a quarter of journalists killed in 2014

The past three years are the most deadly for journalists on record, CPJ finds

New York, December 23, 2014-Twenty-three percent of journalists killed on the job this year were members of the international press, about double the proportion the Committee to Protect Journalists has documented in recent years. In total, at least 60 journalists were killed globally in relation to their work in 2014, compared with 70 killed in 2013. The past three years are the most deadly period CPJ has ever recorded.

“This is the most dangerous time to be a journalist we have ever seen,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “Historically, local journalists have always borne the brunt of the danger, and this is still the case. But the increased attacks on international journalists show that in the current environment, everyone is a target.”

The higher-than-usual proportion of international journalists killed reflects in part the increasingly volatile nature of conflict zones in which Westerners are often deliberately targeted. Anja Niedringhaus, a German photographer for The Associated Press, was shot dead by a police officer in Afghanistan while covering elections. In August, U.S. freelance journalist James Foley, who had been kidnapped nearly two years earlier, was executed by members of militant group Islamic State, who published an online video of the murder. Two weeks later, IS published another video showing the beheading of U.S.-Israeli freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, who had been abducted a year before.

Despite increased risks to international journalists working in conflict zones, the majority of media-related threats affect local journalists. For example, of the approximately 20 journalists CPJ estimates to be currently missing in Syria-many of whom are believed to be held by Islamic State – most are local journalists. The high number of abductions led vast swaths of Syria to become no-go zones for the media, as international journalists stopped entering the country and local journalists flee from it.

Still, Syria was the world’s deadliest country for journalists for the third year in a row. In total, the Syrian conflict led to the deaths of at least 17 journalists in 2014, bringing to 79 the overall number of journalists killed in the country since the conflict began in 2011. Syria replaced the Philippines as the second deadliest place for journalists since CPJ began documenting media-related killings in 1992.

Almost half of the journalists killed in 2014 died in the Middle East. In Iraq, at least five journalists were killed, while at least four journalists and three media workers were killed covering the 50 days of conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in July and August.

Further combat and crossfire deaths occurred this year in Ukraine, where at least five journalists and two media workers were killed-the first journalism-related killings CPJ confirmed in that country since 2001.

Both Paraguay and Burma experienced their first media-related deaths since 2007. In Burma, the military said in October it had shot and killed a Burmese freelance reporter while holding him in custody in southeastern Mon state. At least three journalists were killed in Paraguay, all of whom covered the lawless region along the Brazilian border.

CPJ’s database of journalists killed for their work in 2014 includes capsule reports on each victim and a statistical analysis. CPJ also maintains a database of all journalists killed since 1992.

Issued by CPJ

Ends

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