Geneva/Guwahati, In the first six months of 2021, at least 35 journalists were killed in 21 countries around the world, whereas India lost 2 scribes to violence within this period. In contrast, more than 1586 journalists died of Covid-19 complications in 78 countries since Mach 2020, where India tops the list with 259 corona-victims among media persons.
Casualty figures ‘stable’
Afghanistan emerges as the most dangerous country with five journalists killed since 1 January 2021, stated the Switzerland based media rights and safety body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) adding that
casualty figures remain stable compared to the previous year when 2020 also witnessed the murder of 35 media workers during the same period. The troubled south Asian country is followed by Mexico and Pakistan with three casualties followed by India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Azerbaijan and Ethiopia each with two victims of targeted violence.
One journo-casualty has been reported from United States of America, Colombia, Greece, Turkey, Yemen, Haiti, Lebanon, Nigeria, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador and Gaza. “PEC strongly condemns these killings and urges the local authorities to shed light on the causes of these crimes in order to arrest and prosecute those responsible,” said Blaise Lempen, general secretary of PEC (https://pressemblem.ch/). For the remainder of the year, the PEC team is particularly concerned about the situation in Afghanistan, particularly the women journalists working there, due to the withdrawal of NATO troops, he added.
Latin American journalists bear the brunt of Covid-19 deaths
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to claim journalists across the globe. The number of victims has slightly slowed down during the month of June (especially in India) with around 60 dead, compared to more than 200 in May around the world. Latin America witnessed the highest casualties, with more than half of the victims. During June, the highest number of journalists died of Covid-19 was recorded in Brazil (one every 2 days).
“India has slightly improved the record of journo-casualties because of intentional killings in the last six month as the populous country lost Ashu Yadav (a Kanpur based scribe) and Sulabh Srivastava (a Lucknow based television journalist) to assailants,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative adding that India lost highest number of journalists (15) last year followed by Mexico (12), Pakistan (8), Afghanistan (7), Bangladesh (1), and Indonesia (1). The Sulabh Srivastava death is attributed by the UP police to an accident as Srivastava was returning home on his motorcycle late at night.