The murder of Saudi Arabian columnist Jamal Khashoggi in a year when more than half of all journalists killed were targeted deliberately reflects a hatred of the media in many areas of society, Reporters Without Borders said on Tuesday.
At least 63 professional journalists were killed doing their jobs around the world in 2018, said RWB, an NGO that advocates on issues relating to freedom of information and freedom of the press. The number of fatalities constitutes a 15-percent increase over last year, the group noted, and it rises to 80 when all media workers and citizen journalists killed are taken into account.
“The hatred of journalists that is voiced ... by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists,” RWB secretary general Christophe Deloire said in a statement.
Khashoggi, a royal insider who became a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and began writing for The Washington Post after moving to the United States last year, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. Khashoggi’s death has sparked global outrage. For their part, Saudi officials have rejected accusations that the crown prince ordered his death.
The Paris-based media organization reported that the three most dangerous countries for journalists to work in this year were Afghanistan, Syria and Mexico.
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Meanwhile, the shooting of five employees of the Capital Gazette newspaper propelled the United States into the ranks of the most dangerous countries.
RWB said 348 journalists are being detained worldwide, compared with 326 at this time in 2017. China, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt hold more than half the world’s imprisoned journalists.