Reporters Without Borders: 49 journalists killed worldwide

BERLIN, Esteban Engel (dpa)- According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), almost half of the almost 400 journalists imprisoned worldwide are in just three countries: China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The governments there have increased pressure on people working in the media, RSF board spokesman Michael Rediske said ahead of the publication of the company's annual report on press freedom in Berlin on Tuesday.

According to RSF, there are 120 media professionals in prison in China alone. More than 40 per cent of them are citizen journalists who, despite tightened censorship, have tried to disseminate independent information via social networks. Most of the prisoners added in 2019 belonged to the Muslim Uighur minority.
At least 49 journalists and other media professionals have been killed worldwide for their work since the beginning of the year - well over half of them in five countries: Syria, Mexico, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.
Significantly fewer media workers died in armed conflicts than in previous years, RSF reported.
A country at peace like Mexico is just as dangerous for journalists today as war-torn Syria, Rediske said.
There were 86 fatalities in the same period in 2018. The organization considers the period from the beginning of the year to December 1.
The countries with the most journalists killed were Syria, with 10 media professionals killed, Mexico (10), Afghanistan (5), Pakistan (4) and Somalia (3). Fourteen journalists were killed across Latin America.
RSF said that 389 media professionals are currently in prison, 12 per cent more than in the previous year.
Almost half of the detained journalists are behind bars in China (120), Egypt (34) and Saudi Arabia (32), the annual report shows.
In Egypt and Saudi Arabia, most of the detainees are in prison with no verdict or charge.
In Turkey, dozens of journalists were released after prison terms during the year. However, several of them were arrested again after a short time.
The risk of criminal prosecution has even increased, the RSF report says.
By December 1, 57 media professionals worldwide had been kidnapped, mainly in Syria (30), Yemen (15), Iraq (11) and Ukraine (1).
The Houthi rebels in Yemen and the separatists in eastern Ukraine treated hostages as "prisoners," charged with serious crimes and sentenced to high sentences.

Tuesday, December 17th 2019
Esteban Engel (dpa)

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