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Nearly 400 Journalists Have Been Murdered Over the Past Ten Years

Only ten percent of their killers are ever reprimanded

(Photo: Hill Street Studios/Matthew Palmer/Blend Images/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

According to a new report issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists, 370 journalists have been known to be murdered over the past decade. Their killers targeted them in direct retaliation to their jobs and work. Nearly all of their killers—as the Guardian reports, an unbelievable 90 percent—got away with their crimes, too.

The Guardian broke those stats down, finding that the countries with the highest numbers of murdered journalists are Iraq, the Philippines, Algeria, Colombia, Russia, Somalia, Pakistan, Brazil and Mexico. Motivations behind those crimes varied, from illegal trafficking of drugs or wildlife to religious or military wars. Regardless of the issue that incited the crime, however, "At the heart of the problem is a persistent lack of political will to see justice through in the hundreds of cases in which journalists have been fatally shot, bombed, or beaten because of what they were reporting on," the Committee writes. 

Attention surrounding this issue is slowly building. Journalist murders are gaining coverage in major media outlets, and vigils are being held this month in New York City for four Peruvian anti-logging activists who were prominent in the media but were murdered earlier this year as a result of their public campaigns.

Still, much change is needed before journalists reporting on sensitive issues can feel secure in doing their jobs—or at least confident in the fact that both their state and the international community has their back. As the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote, "There is awareness on domestic and global levels of the extreme peril posed to journalists and the public’s right to information when violence against the press is met with official inaction" and "the number of convictions of suspects behind these crimes appears to be slightly on the rise, but this number remains small in comparison to the tally of new victims each year." 

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