Most dangerous places for journalists in 2013
The past year has been embroiled with conflicts around the world and at home.
From the Edward Snowden leaks in the United States, to political turmoil in Egypt, there was important work to be done by journalists throughout the globe. However, with these conflicts comes certain risks. The actions of governments, ruling powers and other organizations is often quite controversial, and rarely do these parties wish to see the details of such endeavors leak to the public.
This puts journalists in a tough position. Many feel it is their duty to bring this information to the public, but doing so may jeopardize personal safety. Many countries are striving toward becoming more free and open nations, but governments can often feel threatened by any form of criticism. The actions of writers, activists and netizens seeks to help improve the socio-political situations of these countries, but often times, this can lead to personal endangerment.
Most deadly countries for journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists recently reported on the most dangerous places for journalists around the globe. With the conflicts that have been going on around the world, comes reporters who are looking to cover and communicate information, despite the risk.
The organization found that Syria was the most deadly country for journalists during 2013, amid the continued civil war that has been occurring throughout the country. Joining Syria was Iraq and Egypt as conflicts within these countries as well have bread hostile environments for these writers. The CPJ noted that were 70 journalists who were killed for their work over the course of the year, with another 25 deaths currently being investigated.
Of these victims, 44 percent were murdered. Another 36 percent of journalists were killed in combat, while another 20 percent died in the line of another form of dangerous assignment.
These deaths speak to the severity of the conflicts on which they were reporting. Many of the conflicts from preceding years, such as the Arab Spring, still echoed during 2013. While the major protests that emerged around this time have somewhat subsided, there are still major ripple effects, especially in the country that was at the heart of the movement – Egypt.
The CPJ reported that there were six journalist deaths in the country over the course of 2013, three of which were on a single day as the Egyptian military cracked down on supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party.
The Index on Censorship reported that the military-backed regime is becoming stricter on dissidents, despite the fact that it was these efforts that brought the current government to power. This has recently come about in the jailing of three of the more prominent figure heads of the January 2011 revolution.
Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma have gone on a hunger strike since being held in Cairo's Torah Prison. The three are part of a larger body of 51 activists who have been detained for protesting a new law that would give the government the power to regulate such action.
The country has found itself in a difficult position as the ramifications of ousting former president Hosni Mubarak continue to manifest themselves. The government crackdown initially targeted members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was ousted by the current government. However, the Index on Censorship noted that these restrictions have extended even further to groups who have simply expressed dismay with the current government.
If 2014 is to be a safer and more welcoming year for journalists, those in power need to do a better job of promoting free and open dialogs between citizens and the government. While the pillar of democracy are used quite freely in political rhetoric, it is another thing entirely to see it in practice.