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Environmental Journalists Among 57 Reporters Killed in 2022


Top: More than 1,000 reporters, editors, camera operators and photographers demonstrated in Mexico City and 10 other cities in Mexico calling for an end to violence against journalists. Photo credit: Germán Canseco / Proceso

By Mark B. Newa

British journalist Don Philips, who was killed and his dismembered body found in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest earlier this year, was among 57 journalists killed this year, according to the global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

Philips,  a freelance journalist who wrote for the Guardian and the Washington Post, had gone to document indigenous people’s protest against poaching, illegal gold mining and deforestation, the group said in its latest report on the state of press freedom worldwide.    

Four of the slain journalists were working on deforestation and land seizures by concessionaires and big businesses. Mexico City is the deadliest place for journalists, the report said.

Nearly all journalists killed this year were targeted in connection with stories they were following and working on.

At least one death in each of the six Latin American countries. The journalists were either killed near their homes or workplaces by contract killers while investigating stories that were linked to politics, crimes, or human rights violations.

Eight journalists were killed in the first six months of the Russo-Ukraine War that broke out in February this year. Environmental reporting features on the list of the riskiest stories that also includes covering war, investigating organized crimes, corruption and protests.

The killing of 57 journalists is a rise of 18.8 percent from last year’s 50. 

South America has been described as the world`s deadliest region for media professionals to work. “Eleven were murdered in Mexico alone. Mexico’s figures, along with Haiti’s (with six killed) and Brazil’s (with three killed) helped turn the Americas into the world’s most dangerous region for the media, with nearly half (47.4 percent) of the total number of journalists killed worldwide in 2022,” the report said. 

“Dictatorial and authoritarian regimes are filling their prisons faster than ever by jailing journalists, said Christopher Deloire, the secretary general of Reporters without Borders.  

“This new record in the number of detained journalists confirms the pressing and urgent need to resist these unscrupulous governments and to extend our active solidarity to all those who embody the ideal of journalistic freedom, independence, and pluralism,” Deloire added.

Reporters Without Borders has compiled an annual roundup of violence and abuses against journalists every year since 1995 based on a global dataset.