RSF: Global journalist deaths decrease in 2023, spike noted in Gaza
RSF noted a significant decrease in global journalist fatalities in the first 11 months of 2023, despite an alarming rise in Gaza amid the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) noted a significant decrease in global journalist fatalities in the first 11 months of 2023, despite an alarming rise in Gaza amid the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict. The RSF's annual report, released Thursday, shows 45 journalists killed worldwide on duty—a decline from last year. In contrast, Gaza emerged as a notably deadly environment, with 13 journalists killed covering the war, contributing to a total of 56 deaths.
"Journalists in Gaza are facing exceptionally high risks," stated RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire. The RSF report emphasizes that 17 of the 63 journalists killed in the Middle East since October 7 were targeted because of their work or status. This highlights the dangers in conflict zones.
In response, RSF has filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court, accusing Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes against journalists. This follows reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which suggest deliberate targeting by Israeli forces. Notably, Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah was killed in southern Lebanon, despite wearing a press vest and being away from direct combat. The same incident injured six other journalists, including Al Jazeera's Elie Brakhia and Carmen Joukhadar.
The overall decline in journalist deaths in 2023 is significant, with this year's figure being the lowest in decades. Deloire attributes this to decreased violence in regions like Latin America, Syria, and Iraq. "The decline is consistent," he said, comparing current figures to the high numbers in 2012 and 2013. Deloire credits NGOs and international organizations for their efforts to reduce impunity and journalists' increased caution.
Yet, the world remains perilous for journalists, with Ukraine and Mexico posing significant threats. RSF reports two journalist deaths in Ukraine in 2023, including AFP's Arman Soldin, bringing the total to 11 since Russia's February 2022 invasion. While journalist fatalities in Latin America, especially Mexico, have decreased, the region still faces serious dangers like kidnappings and attacks. RSF's report underscores the ongoing risks journalists worldwide face, despite the overall downward trend in deaths.