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Journalists' Group Says 65 Media Workers Killed Last Year

Yama Siawoosh, a former news presenter in Tolo News (left), and Radio Free Afghanistan journalist Mohammad Ilyas Dayee were two of the media workers killed in Afghanistan in 2020.

An international union federation of journalists says 65 reporters and media workers were killed worldwide last year while doing their jobs, with Afghanistan the second-deadliest place for journalists.

The killings of journalists occurred in six different countries during targeted attacks, bomb attacks, and crossfire incidents, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said in its annual report published on March 12.

“The ruthless reign of crime barons in Mexico, the violence of extremists in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, as well as the intolerance of hardliners in India and the Philippines have contributed to the continued bloodshed in media,’’ said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger.

With 10 deaths, Afghanistan ranked the second-most dangerous place in the world for reporters, second only to drug-war-ridden Mexico, with 14 killings.

Nine journalists were killed in Pakistan, eight in India, four each in the Philippines and Syria, and three each in Nigeria and Yemen.

There were also two killings in both Iraq and Somalia while Bangladesh, Cameroon, Honduras, Paraguay, Russia, and Sweden all reported one journalist killed.

A total of 2,680 journalists and media workers have been killed since the IFJ started keeping tally in 1990.

The IFJ said at least 229 journalists were in prison across the world as of March 2021 because of their work, with Turkey “the biggest jailer of journalists in the world" -- with at least 67 media workers in its jails.

China came second with 23 journalists detained, followed by 20 in Egypt, 16 in Eritrea, and 14 in Saudi Arabia.

‘’No democracy worthy of that name can jail messengers of freedom of expression," Bellanger said.

With reporting by AP
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