World Press Freedom Day: Deaths, Arrests and Media Gagging Silencing Journalists

By Soko Directory Team / Published May 3, 2019 | 9:12 am





The 3rd of May is celebrated worldwide as the World Press Freedom Day despite members of the press being faced by a myriad of challenges in their line of duty.

The members of the press are not only threatened, arrested and abused in their line of duty but a huge number have also paid dearly with their lives to hinder them from delivering their stories.

In 2018, over 95 journalists were murdered in their line of duty, increasing from the number killed in 2017, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). In 2017, the number of murdered members of the press, also commonly referred to as Members of the Fourth Estate, was worryingly high as a result of conflicts experienced in Iraq and Syria.

The most prominent death was that of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi of Saudi Arabia in October 2018 in the Saudi consulate-general in Turkey. Khashoggi’s murder attracted International criticism and fury.

The most recent death is in the UK after Journalist Lyra McKee was murdered on London streets by a dissident Northern Ireland paramilitary group while covering a riot.

In 2016, the highest number of media deaths was recorded at 155 and has considerably reduced over the years other than when conflict occurs in countries exposing journalists.

There are a number of countries known to be danger zones for the members of the press after recording a high number of killings such as Afghanistan where nine journalists perished after they had gone to report at a site of a bomb attack. The nine journalists were killed after a bomber in the disguise of a journalist detonated a second bomb.

In 2018, at least 251 journalists were jailed for their work according to a report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) annual report.

China, Egypt and Turkey imprisoned the highest number of journalists according to the CPJ report with the last three years recording the highest number of jailed reporters since the CPJ report began.

Out of all those that were jailed, 70 percent were facing anti-state charges or were accused of abetting groups considered by authorities to be terrorist organizations.

Countries with the highest numbers of imprisoned journalists in 2018:

Turkey – 68

China – 47

Egypt – 25

Saudi Arabia – 16

Eritrea -16

The World Press Freedom day comes at a time when Kenya has, sadly, dropped four places in the World Press Freedom Index according to a study published on ‘Reporters without Borders’.

The Kenyan constitution protects the media which had boosted the improvement of Kenya on the global press freedom index but seems to be failing in the last 12 months. From a previous position 96 out of 179 countries with 32.44 points, Kenya has been placed at position 100 out of 180 countries with 30.82 points.

Tribalism, dictatorship, poor judicial systems that derail justice and war among countries has attributed to the deaths of many journalists and unless these vices are sorted, the society remains a danger zone for journalists.




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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