By: Kerry Garrett
In 2022, journalist deaths rose over 50 percent from 2021. The majority of these murders, according to the data provided by the Committee to Protect Journalists, occurred in Ukraine and Latin America. There were 71 confirmed killings related to their occupation, most of which were reporting on topics such as crime, corruption and politics.
It should be noted that most journalists who are perceived as threats to larger powers are often eliminated by more covert means than outright murder, so we can assume that the number that this data presents is much lower than the real death toll.
In Ukraine, there were no journalist deaths confirmed to have been murders, but at least thirteen were killed, all of which were covering topics related to war and corruption. Eight of them were confirmed to have been killed in crossfire.
Furthermore, there were 41 journalists arrested in Russia and Belarus. All of them were covering topics involving corruption, war, human rights and politics. Curiously, nearly all of their charges, with two undisclosed, ranged from anti-state rhetoric and false news to retaliation.
In Latin America, mainly Mexico, there were 17 confirmed journalist murder victims. Of these, 16 reported on topics including crime, corruption and politics, and all were under the suspected fire of criminal groups and mob violence. In Colombia and Mexico, 15 journalists have gone missing. The cause for 11 of these disappearances is unknown, but the remaining four were frequently reporting on topics related to crime and politics.
What is also notable is the sheer number of journalists that have been arrested between the years of 2021 and 2023 in light of the protests for women’s liberation. Of the 122 journalists that were imprisoned in 2022 alone, 89 had undisclosed charges, with the remaining being charged with anti-state rhetoric and retaliation. 34 of these reporters were women, and considering the occupational disparities between men and women in this area, this is a proportionately high number.
The press is widely known to be the watchdog of society, and maintaining journalistic integrity makes it a dangerous occupation. The only alternatives to journalistic integrity are lies, cover-ups and ingratiating the organizations that often are involved in the corruption which journalists are responsible for bringing to light.
Unfortunately, especially in times where the rift between the governed and the government is wide and full of distrust, the best evidence of a good journalist is also an endangered one.