Latin America Deadliest Area for Journalists in 2022, Mexico Leads Region

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According to a report released by international watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Tuesday, Jan. 24, Latin America was the deadliest region for reporters in 2022, with Mexico coming in as the worst for press killings in the territory and second-worst internationally.

And while journalist killings in 2022 rose by nearly 50 globally amid lawlessness and war, the CPJ said that “Latin America was the deadliest region for the press, with 30 journalists killed, accounting for nearly half of the 67 journalists and media workers killed worldwide.”

“The global total of 67 was the highest number killed since 2018, and a nearly 50 percent increase from 2021,” the report said.

“More than half of the killings occurred in just three countries — Ukraine (15), Mexico (13), and Haiti (7) — the highest yearly numbers CPJ has ever recorded for these countries. Notably, despite countries across Latin America being nominally at peace, the region surpassed the high number of journalists killed in the Ukraine war.”

“These figures point to a precipitous decline in press freedom, with the highest number of journalist killings since 2018,” said CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg.

“Covering politics, crime and corruption can be equally or more deadly than covering a full-scale war. Meanwhile, governments continue to imprison record numbers of journalists and fail to confront the spiraling violence and culture of impunity that have effectively silenced entire communities around the world.”

According to the CPJ report, of the 67 journalists and media workers killed, at least 41 were killed “in direct connection with their work, with motives for the 26 other deaths currently being investigated to determine whether they were work-related.”

The vast majority of those killed were local journalists covering their own communities, the CPJ said.

“Across Latin America, journalists covering crime, corruption, gang violence and the environment were found to be most at risk,” it said.

“In Mexico, the CPJ documented a total of 13 journalists killed, the highest-ever number in a single year in that country. Alongside the lawlessness and humanitarian emergency in Haiti, the region faces an ever-mounting crisis in journalist killings, leaving news deserts and contributing to insecurity for local communities.”

Since Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took office in December 2018, at least 60 journalists have been murdered in Mexico.

The report likewise noted that “impunity following the killing of journalists persists throughout the world.”

“In the Middle East, there is still no accountability for the murder of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot and killed while she reported on an Israeli military raid in the Palestinian West Bank city of Jenin,” it said.

“Meanwhile, in the Philippines, where a new president has expressed support for a free press, the murders in 2022 of four radio journalists covering local politics and corruption renewed fears that the culture of violence and persistent impunity will endure.

The CPJ said that it found that “existing mechanisms to protect journalists’ safety fail to shield the press,” and that “state and federal protections and laws that deal specifically with journalist protection continue to prove ineffective in keeping journalists safe.”

“Few governments have mechanisms to protect journalists,” said Ginsberg, “and those that do exist are not living up to their promise. Governments must provide protection, credible investigations and justice. Failing to do so charts a perilous path toward information black holes and public insecurity.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.


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