Africa: IFJ Renews Call to UN and Governments to Halt Slaughter of Journalists After 121 Killings in Bloody 2012

press release

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said that 2012 has been one of the bloodiest years for journalists and media workers after recording 121 killings in targeted attacks and cross fire incidents.

The IFJ warned that these terrible numbers are the result of systematic failure by governments and the United Nations to fulfill their international obligations to protect and enforce journalists' basic right to life.

"The death toll for 2012 is another indictment of governments which pay lip service to the protection of journalists but have consistently failed to stop their slaughter," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "It is no wonder that these sky-high numbers of killed journalists have become a constant feature in the last decade during which the usual reaction from governments and the United Nations has been a few words of condemnation, a cursory inquiry and a shrug of indifference."

According to figures released today by the Federation which has published annual reports of journalists and media workers killed in work-related incidents since 1990, 121 journalists and media staff lost their lives in targeted attacks, bomb attacks and other cross-fire incidents this year, up from 107 recorded in 2011. Thirty more died in accidents or of illness while they were at work in 2012, against 20 last year.

Syria tops the IFJ's list of the most dangerous countries for media in 2012. More violence and lawlessness in Somalia turned the country into a media killing field while organised crime in Mexico and insurgents in Pakistan account for the high numbers of fatalities in these countries.

The Federation said that, by and far, journalists were deliberately targeted because of their work and with the clear intention to silence them. This constant finding in IFJ annual reports bring into sharp focus the need for genuine measures to protect journalists and punish those responsible for violence against media.

Last month, the IFJ urged accountability for violence targeting media at the UN Inter-Agency's conference in Vienna, Austria which officially launched the UN Action Plan on the safety of journalists and the issue of Impunity, noting that ' the new UN plan is akin to drinking in the last chance saloon."

"We now look to the UN Plan on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity to deliver on its mandate," added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. "The situation is so desperate that inaction no longer represents an option."

As of 31 December, the IFJ recorded the following information on killings of journalists and media staff in 2012:

Targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross-fire incidents : 121

Accidental and illness related deaths : 30

Total Deaths : 151

The deadliest region in 2012 was the Middle East and Arab World with 47 journalists and media personnel killed. Syria had the region's highest death toll with 36 dead.

Among countries with the highest numbers of media fatalities are:

Syria : 35

Somalia : 18

Pakistan : 10

Mexico : 10

Philippines : 5

Iraq : 5

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