2012 in numbers
88 journalists killed (+33%)
879 journalists arrested 1993 journalists threatened or physically attacked
38 journalists kidnapped
73 journalists fled their country
6 media assistants killed
47 netizens and citizen-journalists killed
144 bloggers and netizens arrested
This year has been exceptionally deadly, with a 33 per cent rise in the number of journalists killed in connection with their work over 2011. The worst-hit regions were the Middle East and Northern Africa (with 26 killed), Asia (24 killed) and sub-Saharan Africa (21 killed). Only the western hemisphere registered a fall in the number of journalists killed.
This is the worst set of figures since Reporters Without Borders began producing an annual roundup in 1995. The number of journalists murdered or killed was 67 in 2011, 58 in 2010 and 75 in 2009. The previous record was in 2007, when 87 were killed. The 88 journalists killed in 2012 lost their lives while covering wars or bombings, or were murdered by groups linked to organized crime (including drug trafficking), by Islamist militias or on the orders of corrupt officials.
“The reason for the unprecedented number of journalists killed in 2012 is mainly the war in Syria, the chaos in Somalia and Taliban violence in Pakistan,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “The impunity enjoyed by those responsible for violations of human rights, in particular, the right to freedom of information, encourages the continuation of these violations.”
The victims were news providers of all kinds. Citizen-journalists and netizens have been hit hard – 47 killed in 2012 compared with 5 in 2011 – especially in Syria. These men and women act as reporters, photographers and video-journalists, documenting their day-to-day lives and the government’s crackdown on its opponents. Without their activities, the Syrian regime would be able to impose a complete news blackout on certain regions and continue massacring in secret.
To compile these figures, Reporters Without Borders used the detailed information it gathered in the course of its monitoring of violations of freedom of information throughout the year. The victims were journalists or netizens who were killed in connection with the collection and dissemination of news and information. Reporters Without Borders did not include cases of journalists and netizens who were killed solely in connection with their political or civil society activism, or for other reasons unrelated to the provision of news and information. Reporters Without Borders continues to investigate other cases in which it has so far been unable to get all the information it needs in order to take a decision.