BRASÍLIA, Brazil – Brazilian Army soldiers recently participated in a training exercise in which terrorists unleashed a chemical weapons attack during the Confederations Cup. The drill was part of security preparations leading to soccer tournament, which will be held from June 15-30. (Evaristo Sa/AFP)
VIENNA – A total of 103 journalists were killed worldwide in 2011, with Mexico being the most dangerous place for media workers, Vienna-based press watchdog International Press Institute (IPI) reported on Jan. 5.
The 2011death toll was the second highest on record after 2009, when 110 journalists were killed while covering stories.
“The numbers are getting worse,” IPI said, noting that 55 journalists were killed in 2001. “In 2002, 19 countries appeared on the IPI Death Watch list. In 2011, there were 40 – more than in any year of the past decade.”
With 10 journalists killed in the past year, Mexico was the deadliest country for media workers, IPI said.
Iraq came second with nine deaths – mostly from bombings – followed by Honduras, Pakistan and Yemen, each with six deaths, and Libya and Brazil, each with five deaths.
In North Africa and the Middle East, journalists were mostly killed during the Arab Spring uprisings.
In sub-Saharan Africa, in Russia and in several cases in Pakistan, the reporters were victims of targeted killings, IPI said.
“Almost all of the journalists killed in 2011 were local reporters and cameramen covering local conflicts, corruption and other illegal activities,” IPI said. “Tragically, the likelihood that the perpetrators will be brought to justice is close to zero. Impunity is fueling the murders.”
IPI also noted a “trend of increasing violence against journalists in the Western hemisphere” and called on governments to respect the media’s right to work freely.
Aside from targeted killings, the IPI Death Watch list includes journalists killed in natural disasters, plane crashes and attacks while covering a story.
In its own tally for 2011, Reporters without Borders counted 66 journalists’ deaths.
[AFP (Austria), 05/01/2012; Elfinanciero.com.mx (Mexico), 05/01/2012]