World

2022 is a dead year for journalists, especially in Latin America


Even as journalists from around the world cover Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II, it was Latin America that proved most dangerous to reporters last year, with violence against them increased to new levels, a monitoring group said on Tuesday.

There are 67 homicides reported in 2022 around the world — the most in five years — and nearly half of them take place in the region, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in the report. its annual.

“Although countries across Latin America are nominally peaceful, the region has surpassed the high number of journalists killed in the Ukraine war,” said the nonprofit news group.

Mexico alone accounted for 13 deaths, the most the group had ever recorded there in a year. Seven journalists have been reported killed in Haiti.

In Ukraine, where fighting has killed about 40,000 civilians since Russia’s invasion last February, 15 people in the media are believed to have been killed.

But the journalists there are covering combat, not everyday life.

In Latin America, the journalists’ committee said, reporters face death if they cover topics such as corruption, gang violence and the environment.

Katherine Corcoran, a longtime reporter in Mexico, said Tuesday that it is most dangerous for local reporters who lack protection when working for international news organizations.

“Things just kept getting worse,” said Ms Corcoran, author of a 2022 book looking at press attacks in Mexico.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, she said, the most dangerous time to be a journalist is often not when an autocratic government is in complete control and officials may feel “really not required to.” kill a reporter”, which is when democracy begins to prevail. hold and change centers of power.

The commission said the deaths of at least 41 journalists and media workers killed last year were directly related to their work. It particularly noted the shooting death of Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American television reporter, and the deaths of four radio journalists in the Philippines who had covered local politics and corruption. .

In Mexico, journalists say they are doing their jobs in fear, and even a famous reporter seems defenseless.

In December, gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a prominent messenger outside his home in the capital. The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, offered somewhat sympathetic words to the presenter, but many journalists argued that his overt hostility towards the press had put them in danger.

Even those who try to avoid reporting on Mexico’s notoriously violent drug traffickers, focusing instead on corruption, have sometimes found that their reporting path has led, Corcoran said. They come to sell drugs.

In Haiti, where brutal gangs freely take control of some neighborhoods, the Committee to Protect Journalists says the problem is the general lawlessness and the general humanitarian emergency of the country. .

In October, Roberson Alphonse, a longtime newspaper and newspaper reporter covering corruption and gang violence, was shot multiple times by gunmen in a pickup truck on his way to work in the capital Port. -au-Prince.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Alphonse said Tuesday.

He was back to work within two months.

Alphonse, 46, said the violence made it harder than ever for Haitian journalists to do their jobs – and at a time when that was especially important to them. The attacks, he said, are not only aimed at freedom of expression, but also on the Haitian people’s right to information.

“We are journalists,” Mr. Alphonse said. “So we have to inform the public and the world about the scale of the violence happening in our country.”

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