Journalism can sometimes be a dangerous job. This is because it usually involves reports that may expose, incite and attack others, who may feel the need to retaliate. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has announced that 67 journalists and media workers were brutally murdered around the world in 2022. The CPJ said in a report that it released on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, that it was the year that it witnessed the highest number of journalists brutally killed worldwide since 2018. The Committee also said that the 2022 figures were almost twice the number targeted and eliminated in 2021.
The CPJ said that these 67 journalists killed in 2022 are part of the 2,186 journalists who have been murdered since 1992. CPJ’s data of journalists who died in 2022 almost tally with those of the International Press Institute (IPI). The latter’s data showed that as of December 29, 2022, 66 journalists had been killed that year. This is significant because the data is gathered independently and the two organizations do not work together in data gathering.
Deaths of journalists rose because of casualties from Russia-Ukraine war.
The number of deceased journalists and other media workers in the past year grew because of the high number of casualties from the Russia-Ukraine war, as well as the hostile media working environment in Latin America, especially Mexico. The CPJ reports that of the 67 killed, 41 were killed in direct connection to their work. The circumstances behind the killings of others have yet to be known. CPJ said it will continue to probe their death.
Data from the CPJ also show that more than half of the murders occurred in just three countries – Ukraine (15 journalists), Mexico (13 journalists), and Haiti (seven journalists). This is the highest yearly numbers that the CPJ has ever recorded for these countries. To clarify, CPJ’s report does not include journalists who died of illness or were killed in a car or plane crash unless the crash was caused by hostile action. Some might wonder if these criteria will omit some deaths which are made to look like are caused by an illness.
About half of the total deaths in 2022 occurred in Latin America.
Apart from Mexico, Russia and Ukraine, journalists and media workers also died in Colombia, the Philippines, Chad, Chile, Israel, Myanmar, Brazil, Haiti, Turkey, the Palestinian Territory, and the United States. The deaths show the extent of threats faced by journalists and the press around the world, which include countries with democratically elected governments. Another highlight of the CPJ’s reports is that the Russian-Ukraine war caused the death of 13 of the 15 journalists who died in Ukraine. More could die as the war persists.
Most importantly, nearly half of the global total (30) died in Latin America in 2022 – a reflection of the outsize risk journalists in the region face. According to the organization, “CPJ tracks three types of journalists’ deaths in relation to their work: targeted murders in reprisal for reporting–by far the largest category; deaths in combat or crossfire; and deaths on other dangerous assignments. CPJ also tracks the killings of media support workers, such as translators, drivers, and security guards; there was one such killing in 2022 in Kazakhstan.”
Nigeria recorded the worst attack on journalists in 34 years.
The ICIR reports that the CPJ did not record that any journalist died in Nigeria in 2022. There were reports of attacks on the practitioners and other workers in the industry. The International Press Centre (IPC) condemned some of those attacks in a report in June of that year. There are several reports of the government’s intolerance of journalists’ work in Nigeria, resulting in their unlawful arrest, shoddy arraignment and incarceration, including a 2019 report which showed that the country recorded the worst attacks on journalists in 34 years under President Muhammadu Buhari.