The Attack on News

Violence against journalists has increased in the past few years and some world leaders are encouraging this censorship.

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The Attack on News

Many journalist travel around the world and risk their lives to cover dangerous events and learn what is happening.

Many journalist travel around the world and risk their lives to cover dangerous events and learn what is happening.

Carlos Latuff

Many journalist travel around the world and risk their lives to cover dangerous events and learn what is happening.

Carlos Latuff

Carlos Latuff

Many journalist travel around the world and risk their lives to cover dangerous events and learn what is happening.

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80 journalists have been killed this year alone. 348 were detained, 60 were held hostage and three are missing. All around the world, journalists are being targeted for their involvement in reporting on political figures, economic powers and organized crime. 2018 marked the first time that the United States made the list of the top of the deadliest countries for journalists, all according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Four of the six journalists murdered in America in 2018 were part of the five people killed at the Capital Gazette, a local newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland. The shooter, Jarrod Ramos, claimed that the newspaper damaged his reputation by publishing a story about his guilty harassment plea the year prior, according to nytimes.com.

The other countries with the highest journalist death rate are Afghanistan with 15 journalists killed, Syria with 11, Mexico with nine, Yemen with eight and India with six. The murder rate for journalists has increased eight percent since 2017, according to rsf.org.

“Violence against journalists has reached unprecedented levels this year, and the situation is now critical,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said according to rsf.org. “The hatred of journalists that is voiced, and sometimes very openly proclaimed, by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen have tragic consequences on the ground and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists.”

Every year, RSF publishes the World Press Freedom Index, ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists. The United States ranks 45, two places lower than the previous year. In 2018, there were 11 journalists arrested, 42 journalists attacked, five journalists killed and 21 journalists subpoenaed.

“When journalists are obstructed, so is the public’s right to be informed and hold power to account,” according to the US Press Freedom Tracker. “The United States has some of the strongest legal free speech protections in the world and serves as a beacon for press freedom in a world where journalists are routinely censored, attacked, or imprisoned for their work. But the US record is imperfect, and journalists and advocates must tirelessly defend the First Amendment in courts, in legislatures, and in the media. Constant vigilance and an honest accounting of the country’s track record on press freedom are essential.”

There have also been verbal attacks against journalists from the highest offices of the government. Mainly around the reports that President Donald Trump had contacts with Russian Intelligence, Trump lashed out against media and journalists who did not favor him.

“The fake news media (failing @nytimes, @CNN, @NBCNews and many more) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people,” Trump said in a tweet.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has supported the murder of 200 professional and nonprofessional journalist since 2011. While he is not the sole cause of this violence, he has a leading role.

In a news conference in March 2015, Thailand’s Prime Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, responded to a question about what the government would do if journalists did stick to the official line.

“We’ll probably just execute them,” Chan-o-cha said according to rsf.org.

The anti-press rhetoric has been coupled with an increase in the number of press freedom violations as journalists run the risk of arrest for covering protests, controversial issues or simply attempting to ask public officials questions. Reporters have also been subject to physical assault while doing their job.

However, there is a new bill that is facing Congress. The Journalist Protection Act makes it a federal crime to intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist based on what they are reporting about. Progress is being made to increase freedom of the press and the safety of journalists.

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