More journalists were killed, abused and subjected to violence in 2018

While murder murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudia Arabia in their Consulate in Turkey received a lot of media attention, attacks on journalists were quite widespread, with:

  • 80 killed
  • 3 missing
  • 60 held hostage
  • 348 detained

That’s alarming, and a record high.

Reporters Without Borders: WORLDWIDE ROUND-UP of journalists killed, detained, held hostage, or missing in 2018 

Although the number of journalists killed in 2017 was less than in previous years, 2018 saw the death toll of journalists rise to a shocking total of 80 journalists killed worldwide (including professional journalists, non-professional journalists and media workers). The number of professional journalists killed rose 15%, from 55 in 2017 to 63 in 2018.

The number of non-professional journalists also rose, from seven last year to 13 this year. Non-professional journalists play a fundamental role in the production of news and information in countries with oppressive regimes and countries at war, where it is hard for professional journalists to operate. In addition to these very alarming figures, there are ten other deaths that RSF is still investigating.

In all, 49 of these journalists (61% of the total) were deliberately targeted because their reporting threatened the interests of certain people in positions of political, economic, or religious power or organized crime. The cases of Ján Kuciak, a Slovak investigative reporter shot dead in his home on 21 February, and Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist murdered in the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on 2 October, show how far some people will go to silence “troublesome” journalists.

Deadliest countries:

  • Afhaanistan 15
  • Syria 11
  • Mexico 9
  • Yemen 8
  • United States 6
  • India 6

The US features due to a single attack in Annapolis, Maryland when four journalists (and one other employee) were shot.

Two others were killed in an accident – a local TV anchor and cameraman, were killed by a falling tree while covering Subtropical Storm Alberto’s extreme weather in North Carolina in May.

Nearly half of the media fatalities were in countries not at war

The world’s five deadliest countries for journalists include three – India, Mexico, and for the first time the United States – where journalists were killed in cold blood although these countries were not at war or in conflict. Once again, Mexico was the deadliest of the countries not at war, with nine journalists murdered in 2018.

Journalism and media are essential components of a free and open society, so attacks on journalists are an attack on freedom.

CNN:  Journalists faced ‘unprecedented’ hostility this year, report says

The findings further highlight the volatility faced by journalists across the world over the past twelve months, a period which has seen high-profile murders and imprisonments as well as verbal attacks on the news media by key global figures, including US President Donald Trump.

“Violence against journalists has reached unprecedented levels this year, and the situation is now critical,” RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire said in a news release accompanying the report.

“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,” he added.

Politicians depend on journalists, but some act poorly when they receive media scrutiny.

Journalists and media are increasingly criticised – some of that criticism is justified, but generally attacks on media are self-interested attacks on a free and open society.

Croc attack – wrong place, wrong time

A New Zealand woman went swimming at the wrong place and time in North Queensland earlier this week and was taken by a crocodile.

She didn’t live to regret an unwise decision – swimming at night in an area well known to have crocodiles is a serious misjudgement with awful consequences in this case.

Now it is reported that a crocodile has been found and killed. The Herald headline makes an assumption sound like a fact: 4.3m croc that killed Kiwi found

Environment and Heritage officers have captured and killed a 4.3-metre crocodile believed to have killed New Zealand-born tourist Cindy Waldron in far north Queensland.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection removed the estuarine crocodile from Cooper Creek, near Thornton Beach where Ms Waldron was taken on Sunday night, and euthanised the reptile.

“Wildlife officers believe the 4.3m crocodile is the target animal due to its size and location,” Queensland police said in a statement on Friday evening.

It may have been the crocodile that killed the woman. Or it may have been swimming in the wrong place at the wrong time.

However after writing that I decided to see if there was any more news as it would be easy to check if it was the guilty crocodile, and it has been confirmed that human remains have been found inside it.

ABC News: Crocodile caught and killed in Cindy Waldron search found to have human remains inside

Rangers have confirmed that a large crocodile caught on Friday in far north Queensland was the one that attacked and killed a woman on the weekend.

The 4.3-metre crocodile, described earlier by police as a “target animal,” had been caught and euthanased after rangers set up traps in Cooper Creek in the Daintree.

Police said human remains — believed to be that of missing woman Cindy Waldron — were found inside the crocodile, which was examined by officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage.

The crocodile, the second animal removed as part of their investigation, was believed to be involved due to its size and location, police said.

So the second crocodile was the killer.

The first crocodile ‘removed’ was in the wrong place at the wrong time.