United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has said fifty-five journalists and media professionals were killed worldwide in 2021, with nearly nine in 10 killings since 2006 still unresolved.
UNESCO said impunity is “alarmingly widespread.” UNESCO Director-General Audrey said:
Once again in 2021, far too many journalists paid the ultimate price to bring truth to light.Right now, the world needs independent, factual information more than ever. We must do more to ensure that those who work tirelessly to provide this can do so without fear.
Although the number of victims stands at its lowest for a decade, UNESCO underlined the many dangers that reporters face in trying to cover stories and expose wrongdoing.
In 2021, as in previous years, journalists faced high rates of imprisonment, physical attack, intimidation and harassment, including when reporting on protests. UNESCO said:
Women journalists continue to be particularly at risk as they are subjected to “a shocking prevalence of harassment online.”
UNESCO cited data that showed that nearly three-quarters of female media professionals surveyed had experienced online violence linked to their work.
According to the UNESCO Observatory of Killed Journalists, two-thirds of victims in 2021 died in countries where there is no armed conflict.
This marks a complete reversal of the situation in 2013 when two-thirds of killings took place in countries experiencing conflict.
Most deaths in 2021 occurred in just two regions, Asia-Pacific – with 23 killings, and Latin America and the Caribbean – with 14.
On Wednesday, Ms. Azoulay condemned the killing of Myanmar journalist Sai Win Aung.