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71 journalists killed in 2015: PEC report

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Geneva: A total of 71 journalists were killed from January to June of 2015 in 24 countries, a 7 percent increase over the same period last year, a Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) report said.

At least 24 journalists were killed in targeted terrorist acts, mostly in France, Libya and Iraq, and 17 journalists died covering fighting in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan and Ukraine.

The other 30 journalists were murdered in criminal acts outside war zones, especially in Latin America, the Philippines and India, the report said.

According to the report, the Middle East and North Africa are the deadliest regions for media work with 23 journalists killed, Xinhua reported.

“Four countries in this region are the deadliest: Libya (eight), Yemen (six), Iraq (six) and Syria (two) and Gaza (one),” the report said.

It said fewer and fewer journalists were taking the risk to cover Syria because of the extreme dangers.

Latin America follows the Middle East with 17 journalists killed in seven countries, especially in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.

According to the report, Europe comes in the third place with 13 deaths. It is the first time Europe lost so many journalists since the war in ex-Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

Eight journalists were killed during the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris, and four others in Ukraine, while one more journalist was killed in an isolated crime in Poland.

Africa is in fourth place with nine journalists killed mainly due to the war in South Sudan where six journalists died, five of them ambushed together.

In an earlier report, PEC said 2014 had become the second deadliest year for journalists over 10 years, with at least 138 journalists killed by the end of the year.

Founded in June 2004 and based in Geneva, PEC says it aims to strengthen the legal protection and safety of journalists in zones of conflict and civil unrest or in dangerous missions.

(IANS)

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Madhya Pradesh Waives off $5.3Bn in Farm Debt

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year.

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India, farmers, farm
Farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The new leader of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is to waive up to $5.3 billion of farm loans, becoming the latest area to offer relief ahead of a national election next year as farmers reel from losses caused by falling crop prices.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party lost the central state to Congress last week dealing Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014 and boosting the opposition ahead of the vote next year.

Congress leader Kamal Nath, who became chief minister of the state on Monday, decided to write off farmers’ loans up to 200,000 rupees, according to a notification.

farmers, Bank
Police try to stop farmers during a protest demanding a better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

Protests on the rise

Farmers’ protests have been rising in past months due to the fall in crop prices and a rise in the cost of diesel and fertilizer.

Nearly 3.4 million farmers will benefit from the loan waiver, which is likely to cost between 350 billion rupees ($4.9 billion) to 380 billion rupees ($5.3 billion), Rajesh Rajora, the state’s principal secretary for agriculture, told Reuters.

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal Accuses Modi Government of Betraying Farmers

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year. (VOA)