NEW YORK: The number of journalists killed last year was 50 per cent higher than in 2021, mostly occurring in Haiti, Ukraine and Mexico, a new report said Tuesday.

Last year marked the deadliest for journalists since 2018, with 67 or more news media workers killed, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in its annual report. At least 41 of them were targetted for their work, the press freedom advocacy group said, while motives for the other 26 were still being investigated.

Ukraine saw 15 members of the press killed, Mexico 13 and Haiti seven. They were the highest journalist death counts CPJ has ever recorded for each nation, reported German Press Agency (dpa).

In Haiti, some died at the hands of violent street gangs running roughshod in the country’s capital, but at least two were shot by police.

“Reporting in Haiti nowadays is extremely difficult for journalists, specifically in the capital,“ Radio Caraibes reporter Mackenson Remy said. “Corruption is all over the place; there is no one you are able to count on.”

Journalists in Ukraine “face enormous risk”, CPJ said. “Members of the press are frequently injured by shelling while covering the conflict, and some report that they have been targetted by Russian forces.”

Mexico’s killings are characterised and driven by impunity, as with the Jan 17, 2022 murder of Tijuana crime photographer Margarito Martinez, followed just five days later by that of Lourdes Maldonado Lopez.

Those who ordered the hits were never arrested, sending the message, the CPJ said, that “anyone can come around and kill you for US$1,000.”

The grim tally also included the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, who was stabbed to death outside his home on Sept 2, allegedly by a local politician German was investigating. Former county public administrator Robert Telles was arrested after being discovered with self-inflicted gunshot wounds, and was charged with murder. Telles pleaded not guilty and is set to stand trial on April 17.

Also highlighted was the death of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, shot by an Israeli soldier while covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin, a West Bank city, for Al Jazeera. Israeli authorities have not investigated, but the FBI has announced it will.

Even as CPJ released its report, the group logged yet another journalist attack, a bomb that went off outside the home of journalist Victor Mambor in Jayapura, in Indonesia’s Papua province. He was not injured. - Bernama

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