By: Ali Omar
The Committee to Protect Journalists released its annual report on Monday which named Syria, Iraq and Egypt as the year’s most deadly environments for journalists. Two-thirds of this year’s 70 total deaths occurred in the Middle East.
Twenty-nine of these deaths occurred in Syria, leading to a total of 63 journalists killed since the popular uprising against Bashar Al-Assad began 33 months ago. Kidnappings are also rampant in the war-torn nation, as 60 journalists were abducted this year, 30 of whom are still missing. One of them, American law student and journalist Austin Tice, has been missing for over 500 days.
The report names Iraq as the second most dangerous place for journalists. Due to the recent spike in violence reminiscent of the deadliest years of American military involvement, all ten listed fatalities took place in the last quarter of the year. All but one of the deaths are listed as murders.
Egypt is third on the list, with six journalists killed this year. Half of these deaths occurred on 14 August alone, when government forces cleared two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo. Due to the interim government’s widespread crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated organizations, numerous other Egyptian journalists are currently imprisoned. Four members of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera were arrested Monday morning on suspicion of links to the Muslim Brotherhood, while eight journalists were injured on 27 December during a fresh round of post-Friday prayer demonstrations.
Other notable countries in the report include Pakistan, which ended this year with five total deaths, the lowest tally since eight were killed in 2012; Somalia, which saw the deaths of four journalists, down from 12 in 2012; and Mali, which experienced the first recorded deaths of journalists this year.
Investigations by the CPJ claim that 44% of this year’s deaths were victims of murders, 36% were hit by crossfire, and 20% died on dangerous assignments. CPJ is currently investigating the deaths of 25 other journalists in 2013.
The CPJ has released an annual report every year since it started recording deaths in 1992.