A total of 46 journalists (42 men and 4 women) were killed in 2021 in the world within the framework of the exercise of their profession, lowest data of the last 20 years, as reported this Thursday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in the presentation of its annual report.
However, the number of jailed reporters sets a historic recordAfter increasing by 20% in 2021, compared to the previous year, reaching 488, 60 of them are women, while 65 are kidnapped and two are missing.
RSF has emphasized that “never” since the creation of the annual balance in 1995 has the number of journalists retained been so high, a situation that has been attributed mainly to the situation in Myanmar, where a military junta was established after the coup of February 1; Belarus, for the repression after the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko; Y China, where control would have been “stepped up” in Hong Kong.
Thus, he has detailed that China remains for the fifth consecutive year as “the largest prison for journalists in the world”, with 127 journalists arrested. Behind are Myanmar, with 53; Vietnam, with 43; Belarus, with 32; and Saudi Arabia, with 31.
China is also the country that imprisons the most womenToday 19 women journalists are behind bars. In Myanmar, nine women are imprisoned, four in Vietnam and three in Iran.
RSF has highlighted the situation of the Chinese journalist Zhan Zhan, awarded the RSF Prize 2021 who is, today, the imprisoned journalist whose life is most in danger. Imprisoned since May 14, 2020, and sentenced to four years, she went on a partial hunger strike to protest against her sentence and is in critical condition. At the end of October, he weighed only 40 kg (1.77 m tall), could not move, or even wash his head without help.
“These extremely high numbers of professionals arbitrarily imprisoned are a reflection of the dictatorial impulse in the world, of an accumulation of crises and of the absence of any scruples on the part of these regimes “, has explained the general secretary of RSF, Christophe Deloire.
“Perhaps they are also the result of a new geopolitical framework of power relations, in which authoritarian regimes do not suffer enough pressure to limit their repression,” said Deloire, according to the report published by RSF through its website.
A journalist is killed every week
In contrast, the number of journalists killed has fallen below 50 for the first time since 2003, which the organization attributes to “the low intensity of armed conflicts” and “the mobilization of organizations in defense of press freedom, as RSF, to set up national and international protection mechanisms “.
However, RSF has highlighted that this figure implies that almost one journalist is murdered every week in the world for exercising his profession and has recalled that, according to its data, the murdered journalists were deliberately singled out.
In this sense, it has indicated that Mexico is the country of the world where more journalists have been killed over the past year, with seven, followed by Afghanistan, with six (three of them women). Behind are India Y Yemen, with four journalists murdered in each of these countries.
The agency has also highlighted that three out of every five journalists have been killed in countries that are not officially at war and even the European Union (EU), considered the safest area in the world to practice journalism, has been affected.
Journalists killed in conflict zones include David Beriain Y Roberto Fraile, killed while making a documentary about poaching in eastern Burkina Faso, and Indian photographer Danish Siddiqui, who won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize and who was killed in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan.
As for kidnapped, the figure has increased by 3% since 2020 to stand at 65 -60 locals and five foreigners-, with Syria leading, with 44. Behind are Iraq, with eleven; Yemen, with nine, and Mali, where Olivier Dubois was kidnapped this year.
Islamic State is the main responsible for these kidnappings, with 28, which represents more than 40% worldwide. Finally, two journalists are missing, the Mexicans Jorge Moltzin Centlal and Pablo Felipe Romero.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.