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Report: 45 journalists were killed in line with their work in 2023, 54 held hostage, 84 remain missing and 521 are currently detained

In its annual report, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) revealed that 45 journalists were killed in line with their work in 2023, marking the lowest total since 2002. The report also revealed that 54 journalists were held hostage, 84 remain missing and 521 are currently detained.

The report identified varying trends contributing to these numbers, such as journalist security, especially in conflict zones where media professionals are better trained and equipped. Additionally, regulatory frameworks and strengthened mechanisms against impunity in peaceful areas enhanced protection. The rise of self-censorship among journalists facing increased risks may also explain reduced exposure to physical threats.

On the other hand, the report points out that, for the first time since 2018, the number of journalists killed in war zones surpassed those killed in peace zones. During the Israel-Hamas war, 17 journalists were killed in two months in Gaza, Lebanon and Israel. This figure excludes 46 journalists who died in situations unrelated to their professional duties, who did not perish directly due to their work, and those whose circumstances of death remain unknown.

RSF has taken steps in seeking justice for these journalists by filing complaints with the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes against Palestinian journalists in Gaza and an Israeli journalist, calling on the ICC to prioritize these killings. This includes the case of Al Jazeera journalist Samer Abu Daqqa, allegedly killed by a precision shot fired from an Israeli drone. The organization has also submitted several complaints regarding the war in Ukraine to the ICC prosecutor.

RSF also noted a decrease in the arbitrary detention of journalists from 2022 to 2023. Out of 521 journalists currently in detention, 121 are detained in China, making it the “world’s largest prison for journalists.” Belarus and Myanmar are also among the top three countries for the detention of journalists.

Additionally, RSF noted that while the number of journalists killed in Latin America—particularly Mexico—has decreased over the past year, there is still a large number of missing journalists. Mexico currently has 31 missing journalists, which ranks above any other country. RSF said that the danger faced by journalists in this region has led to further self-censorship—one of the trends they noted earlier in the report.

RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said of the report’s findings, “On a global scale, it seems that the number of journalists killed in the course of their work or in connection with their work is in sharp decline, over a long period of time.” He continued, “The reasons? Security measures at news organisations, training and allocation of protective equipment, caution, the effects of the fight against impunity and actions by inter-governmental organisations.”

Article: 45 journalists killed in 2023, marking lowest toll since 2002: RSF report

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