News      |      Events

Protest coverage deadly for journalists

Friday 23 Dec 2011
Political unrest around the world has proven to be especially dangerous for journalists this year, says the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). A total of 43 journalists were killed in the line of duty this year.

Protest coverage deadly for journalists

Among those killed this year were Restrepo filmmaker Tim Hetherington and photographer Chris Hondros, both acclaimed journalists, who were covering the protests-turned-civil war in Libya. They were killed in the same incident, by mortar launched by government forces.

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said: “In many countries, 2011 was a year of demonstrations and struggles for liberty and democracy; most rulers responded with systemic violence. The aim was not just to nip the protests in the bud, but also to suppress reporting on them.”

Coverage of the Arab Spring protests resulted in the loss of many media professionals. In addition to Mr Hetherington and Mr Hondros, three others were killed in Libya, two in Yemen, two in Bahrain, two in Egypt, one each in Syria and Tunisia.

Reporter Ahmed Tarek said: “journalists working in this environment are in no less danger than war correspondents covering an armed conflict”.

While deaths while on dangerous assignments reached a record high in 2011, targeted murders of journalists were down.

The majority of journalist deaths were in Pakistan, five of seven, appear to be targeted and all are unsolved.

“The government should be taking it seriously and realise it is their duty to protect journalists. If a journalist is threatened, the culprit should be brought to justice,” Pakistani journalist Umar Cheema, who was abducted and assaulted last year, told the watchdog.