By Mark Ellis
At least 69 journalists were killed due to their work in 2015, and two-fifths died at the hands of radical Islamic groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
More than 66 percent of the total killed were singled out for murder. At least 28 of the murder victims received threats before they were killed.
Islamic radicals killed 28 journalists last year, with nine of those in France, which was second only to Syria as the most dangerous country for the press in 2015.
In Paris, Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack that killed eight journalists at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January.
CPJ is also investigating the deaths of at least 26 more journalists during the year to determine whether their deaths were linked to their assignments.
At least five journalists were killed in each of the following countries: Iraq, Brazil, Bangladesh, South Sudan, and Yemen.
In the past few years, deaths of journalists in Syria outnumbered those in the rest of the world. The number declined in 2015 because many news organizations chose not to send reporters to Syria and local journalists fled into exile.
CPJ attempted to investigate reports that up to 35 journalists from Mosul were missing, dead, or held captive by Islamic State. But with the militant group’s lock on information, CPJ could confirm the deaths of only a handful.
Throughout the Middle East, CPJ has received reports of dozens of more journalists killed, but is unable to independently confirm the individuals died and, if so, whether journalistic work was the reason. CPJ lists these journalists as missing on their website.
In October, ISIS beheaded two Syrian journalists, Fares Hamadi and Ibrahim Abd al-Qader, who were living in exile in Turkey.
In Bangladesh, members of an Al-Qaeda affiliate were suspected in the hacking and stabbing murders of a publisher and four bloggers, including U.S.-Bangladeshi writer Avijit Roy, who was attending a book fair when he was killed, according to CPJ.
In Pakistan, the Taliban claimed
responsibility for the shooting of Zaman Mehsud, president of the Tribal Union of Journalists’ and reporter for two newspapers.
And in Somalia, Hindia Mohamed, a journalist for state-run broadcasters and the widow of another murdered journalist, was killed in December when a bomb blew up her car in an attack by the Islamic group al-Shabaab.
Many journalists were imprisoned for their work, with at least 110 journalists jailed on anti-state charges (out of 199 total jailed), according to CPJ’s annual prison census—revealing the press is being targeted
by terrorists on the one hand and by government authorities on the other.
About one third of killings worldwide came at the hands of criminal groups, government officials, or local residents—in many cases, drug traffickers or local authorities suspected of being in complicity with organized crime.
Brazilian Gleydson Carvalho was shot dead by two men during his afternoon radio show, which often criticized local police and politicians for corruption. Brazil, with six murders, registered its highest number of killings since CPJ began keeping records in 1992.
In South Sudan, unidentified gunmen ambushed a convoy that resulted in the death of five journalists traveling with a county official. The motive for the attack and its perpetrators are unknown, but many suspect the journalists had angered powerful political figures in the country, according to CPJ.
In Poland, Łukasz Masiak, founder of a news website that reported on local crime, drugs, and pollution, was fatally assaulted in a bowling alley after telling other reporters he feared for his life.
In Ghana, George Abanga, a radio reporter, was shot dead at close range on his return from covering a dispute among cocoa farmers.
Seventeen journalists worldwide were killed in combat or crossfire. Five were killed on a dangerous assignment.
In the Philippines, at least seven journalists were killed under ambiguous circumstances, and CPJ is investigating those cases for a work-related motive.
Broadcast reporter was the most dangerous job, with 25 killed. Twenty-nine victims worked online.
The most common beat covered by victims was politics, followed by war
and human rights.