World Press Freedom Day Marks Another Year of Violence Against Journalists
Every year World Press Freedom Day tells some of the most horrific cases of violence against journalists from the last 12 months and previous years.
Africa is home to some of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, many of whom face intimidation, imprisonment, torture and even death. World Press Freedom Day aims to spread awareness of this danger and campaign for change to protect journalists from threats to their lives and profession.
110 journalists killed in 2015
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) revealed in December that 110 journalists had been killed in 2015 – 67 of whom were killed while reporting or directly related to their work. That means a total of 787 journalists are confirmed to have been killed since 2005.
The growing number of civil conflicts across the world in the last decade has been accompanied with increasing violence against journalists. Iraq, Syria and Yemen saw the most journalists killed in 2015 while recent troubles in France saw the European nation equal Yemen with eight journalists killed throughout the year.
A ‘great year for censorship’
On the eve of Word Press Freedom, Day RSF launched its ironic campaign entitled “Great year for censorship”. It features 12 heads of state who have stamped their authority on press freedom over the last twelve months, including China’s Xi Jinping, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
African leaders making the list are Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza, Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Meanwhile, South Sudanese journalists faced a difficult 2015 with seven confirmed cases of reporters being killed during the country’s civil unrest.
Things haven’t been much better in Somalia where journalists are targeted by militant group Al-Shabaab and possibly other forces in the country . Ethiopia and Rwanda have earned themselves reputations as countries that have a silent grip on the media, although reported cases of killings are rare. While Sudanese government forces are regularly shutting down production of newspapers who break regulations on the topics allowed to be covered int he media.