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Gaza war propels journalist deaths toward annual record – report

A leading press freedom NGO has detailed a shocking rise in the killing of reporters on the ground over the last year.


The number of journalists killed around the world last year was close to an all-time annual high, a key NGO has found, with the war in Gaza by far the largest cause of the surge.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 99 journalists worldwide were killed in 2023. While the deaths were recorded across 19 countries, 72 of the 99 were Palestinian journalists killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.

In fact, the NGO reports that “more journalists were killed in the first three months of the Israel-Gaza war than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year”. 

“Journalists in Gaza are bearing witness on the frontlines,” said CPJ Chief Executive Officer Jodie Ginsberg. 

“The immense loss suffered by Palestinian journalists in this war will have longterm impacts for journalism not just in the Palestinian territories but for the region and beyond,” Ginsberg added.

Transparency denied

The war in Gaza has seen journalists struggle to gain access to crucial areas, making it hard to convey the scale of the conflict’s devastation while keeping reporters safe. But the CPJ also says that there is evidence journalists have been specifically targeted by the Israeli military.

“CPJ has raised concerns about the apparent targeting of members of the media by the Israel Defense Forces and is investigating whether a dozen journalists killed in the Israel-Gaza war were deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers,” the NGO said in a press release.

“As shown by CPJ’s May 2023 ‘Deadly Pattern’ report, the Israeli military has a long record of killing journalists with impunity, with at least 20 journalists killed over 22 years and no one held accountable for their deaths. CPJ has demanded swift, transparent, and independent investigations into all journalist killings by the IDF and has repeatedly cautioned warring parties that journalists are civilians under international law and deliberately targeting them is a war crime.”

Meanwhile, outside of the Israel-Gaza war, the number of journalists killed worldwide has fallen relative to recent years. However, the CPJ singles out several countries as particularly deadly places for journalists to work, among them Mexico, Somalia and the Philippines.

The report also points out that the number of killings is hardly the only measure of journalists’ safety.

“Even where the overall number of journalist killings have declined, non-lethal attacks persist and journalists continue to be jailed in record numbers, a key indicator of press freedom conditions.”

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