The murder of the columnist of the American newspaper The Washington Post Jamal Khashoggi It was the headquarters of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul that attracted the most attention and information coverage, but for the press, 2018 was a particularly bloody year. At the end of the year, the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) counts 63 journalists murdered, compared to 55 the previous year, a figure to which add 348 incarcerated and 60 kidnapped.
Violence against the press has been raging in peaceful countries. Within the European Union, the murder of 27-year-old Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak, who was investigating a case of corruption, joins the attack that a year earlier cost the life of the Maltese Daphne Caruana Galizia. In United States, a shooting against the Writing of the newspaper The Capital Gazette He took the lives of five people, an attack that has placed the country among the deadliest in the world for informers.
Hate towards the media spreads across all countries as an epidemic. US President Donald Trump calls journalists "enemies of the people," and in Poland, the new law on public media has led to massive layoffs and the economic strangulation of critical publications. The totalitarian regimes of Nicaragua and Venezuela have redoubled government censorship. In some cases they assault newspaper offices and in others they restrict access to paper to punish printed newspapers that do not agree with the Government. In Spain, the police seizure of the mobile phones of two editors of Europa Press and Diario de Mallorca It has unleashed a wave of criticism.
Expressions of hatred, expressed by political leaders, religious and unscrupulous businessmen, have "dramatic consequences and result in a very disturbing increase in violations of the rights of journalists," warns RSF Secretary General, Christophe Deloire. . Feelings of hatred find a favorable breeding ground in social networks, and Facebook and Twitter encourage aversion towards the press.
This hatred has resulted in a notable increase in violence against journalists, which reaches an unprecedented level. All the indicators -both of murders and imprisonments as well as forced disappearances- have increased. The violent acts against the informants have rebounded with respect to other years, according to the balance of RSF, which brings to 80 the number of journalists killed while performing their work (8% more than the previous year), if you also count the collaborators of media and the so-called citizen journalists.
With 15 informants killed in the deadliest attack since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan once again places itself at the head of the most lethal countries for the press. Then there are Syria (with 11) and Mexico (9), which is still the country not involved in a war more dangerous to exercise the trade and where protection measures (such as panic button)They have proven ineffective. Yemen has claimed the lives of eight reporters, some of whom have died from the bombs and others in prison, victims of ill-treatment.
The biggest prison
The number of imprisoned journalists has also increased: there are 348, compared to 326 in 2017. As then, more than half are in prisons in five countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and China. Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime has turned Turkey into the world's largest prison for informants. "The fact that in 2018 the number of reporters arrested has decreased, with respect to 2017, should not deceive: many journalists were placed on probation, but still await their trial on appeal," says RSF.
The number of journalists abducted amounts to 60, compared to 54 last year, and almost all of them are held captive in the Middle East. The terrorist group of the self-styled Islamic State is the main raptor (it has 24 hostages) and its way of acting against the press has been mimicked by the Houthis of Yemen, who have 16 journalists in their power.
Also a European country, Ukraine, uses these tactics to intimidate the media. Supported by Russia, the separatist forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic retain an announcer who works for Radio Free Europe, accused of being a spy. The RSF organization also records the disappearance of three journalists: two in Latin America and one in Russia. One of the few good news in the report is that, for the first time since 2003, no reporters have been killed in Iraq.