Report: 128 journalists killed in 2014

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Journalists take photos in the Gaza Strip on July 21, 2014, during the seven-week Israeli assault on the besieged enclave. Al-Akhbar / Yasser Kadih

Published Monday, December 15, 2014

At least 128 journalists were killed around the world so far in 2014, according to the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) annual report.

The Middle East led the list with 46 journalists killed, followed by Asia with 31, Latin America with 27, Sub-Saharan Africa with 14 and Europe with 10.

Gaza was the most dangerous place for journalists in 2014, with 16 journalists killed during the Israeli attack on the Strip this summer.

The Palestinian Information Ministry released a video in September revealing that Israel pressured foreign journalists once they reached the Erez crossing between the Occupied Palestine and Gaza to sign a disclaimer “relieving Israel of responsibility for any harm that may be inflicted upon them as they cover the war on Gaza.”

Syria followed with 13 deaths in 2014, as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said more than 70 journalists have been killed while covering the Syrian war, which is now in its fourth year.

Most recently, three Syrian journalists from the Syrian television channel Orient News were killed by a missile in the southwest province of Deraa on December 10.

Pakistan came in third place with 12 casualties, while Iraq was placed fourth with 10 journalists killed, many of whom lost their lives following a surge of attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group. In a series of actions that led to international outcry, the group killed two American journalists in Iraq over the summer.

Prominent human rights group Amnesty International has repeatedly accused ISIS of "war crimes, including mass summary killings and abductions" in areas it controls against anyone who refuses to pays allegiance to it.

Ukraine came in fifth place with nine journalists killed, including four Russians. Turkey was also on the list with two journalist casualties and Lebanon with one.

In the absence of independent investigations, PEC estimated that around half of the journalists killed in 2014 were intentionally targeted, whether by militants or government forces.

Over the past five years, 614 journalists were killed, averaging 123 annually, or 2.4 per week, the report said, with Syria, Pakistan, Mexico, Iraq and Somalia classified as the most dangerous five countries.

PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen said many media outlets stopped sending journalists to conflict zones because of the extreme risks, adding that the diminished coverage of conflicts is detrimental to finding solutions and to financing humanitarian aid.

Lempen also praised the efforts made by many governments and NGOs to guarantee safety of journalists, mainly by implementing or calling to implement UN resolutions.

(Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)

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