11:20 GMT25 January 2021
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    Although COVID-19 prompted some journalists to shy away from actively working out in the field, new figures indicate that even amid the devastating pandemic reporters continued to be killed.

    A new report released by watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday revealed that at least 50 journalists were killed in 2020 as a result of the journalistic work they were conducting at the time.

    The annually published report notes that of the murdered individuals, 45 were deemed as professional journalists, four were media workers, and one person was identified as a non-professional journalist.

    A total of 42 were “deliberately targeted” in connection with their work as journalists, whereas eight individuals were killed while they were reporting in the field “without being deliberately targeted as journalists.”

    The top five deadliest countries for journalists were Mexico, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Additionally, the report found that the majority of the reporters (34) were killed in countries not at war, and that all but one of the journalists were nationals of the country where they were killed.

    “This year’s figures confirm a trend that began in 2016 and has become more marked over the past two years: the number of journalists killed in war zones keeps on falling. It is now countries considered to be ‘at peace’ that are proving to be the deadliest for journalists,” the report notes. 

    “In 2020, nearly seven out of every 10 journalists killed (68%) lost their lives in countries ‘at peace,’ whereas in 2016, it was only four out of every ten.” 

    The watchdog also determined that Mexico “tragically confirmed its position [in 2020] as world leader of the most dangerous countries for the media” after accounting for 10 murdered journalists. Investigators are still trying to determine whether two of those victims were killed for their work.

    “For the past five years, Mexico has seen an average of eight to 10 journalists murdered every year. The election of a new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, exactly two years ago has not alleviated the scourges that plague the country,” reads the report. “The links between drug traffickers and politicians remain, and journalists who dare to cover these or related issues continue to be the targets of barbaric murders.”

    Several attacks against journalists in Mexico have been documented throughout the years, with cases involving drug cartels taking center stage. The RSF report highlights two severe cases that saw journalist Julio Valdivia Rodríguez beheaded and editor Víctor Fernando Álvarez Chávez murdered and cut into pieces.

    Data collected by the Committee to Protect Journalists details that since 1992, at least 125 reporters have been killed in Mexico, of which at least 53 were confirmed to have been killed due to their profession.  

    RSF’s report examined cases that took place between January 1 and December 15. It states that this year’s tally brings the number of journalists killed over the past 10 years to 937.


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    Mexico, watchdog, murder, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), journalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Reporters Without Borders
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