Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Geneva-based global media safety and rights body, has expressed alarm over the sharp rise in the number of journalists killed around the world in the first three months of the year 2022 with 38 victims in 15 countries since January, an average of 3 killings per week, compared to 15 deaths in the same three-month period last year.
PEC’s President, Blaise Lempen lamented that: “This dramatic rise is very worrying as the number of journalists killed had decreased in previous years. The war in Ukraine and the rampant criminality in Mexico are the main reasons of this appalling deterioration.” The year 2020 witnessed the murder of 92 media workers while it decreased in 2021 to 79 killings.
Blaise said “With the worrying deterioration the global forum renews its call to the United Nations for the adoption of an international convention strengthening the protection of journalists with investigation and prosecution mechanisms.”
PEC’s records show that in Ukraine, the conflict triggered by Russia has already claimed nine victims among media workers while nearly 20 journalists have been injured and at least 10 others detained. PEC urges the two countries to put an immediate cessation to the war in order to avoid a Syrian-style scenario with dozens of casualties in a protracted conflict.
The PEC president said Russian and Ukrainian authorities must ensure that journalists are not targeted while covering the ongoing fighting and that they can work freely. He added that the circumstances of each death must be independently clarified and those responsible must be brought to justice.
Mexico where nine journalists have so far been killed-casualties has almost reached its toll for the number of media workers killed in the whole of last year (10 killed).
PEC said the Mexican authorities must fight much harder against impunity and search more actively for those responsible for these murders and their sponsors.
PEC also cited Haiti, which it noted, has seen an increase in violence with three journalists killed. It also named India and Pakistan which have also recorded three media casualties each, and Yemen, where two media workers were. One victim each is reported killed in Myanmar, Brazil, Chad, Guatemala, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Turkey and the United States.
Nava Thakuria, PEC’s South and Southeast Asia representative, disclosed that Pakistan has lost three journalists namely Hasnain Shah, Murtaza Shar and Athar Mateen to assailants during the first three months of 2022. India has also witnessed the killing of three journalists, Rohit Kumar Biswal, Sudhir Saini and Juned Khan Pathan during the same period. India’s other neighbours namely Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet (China), Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka have not reported any journalist murder this year, except Myanmar which lost Pu Tui Dim to military atrocities.