Threats and death: the high risk of being a journalist

At the annual meeting of the International Free Press Society (IFPS), it was requested greater protection for the journalist

Threats and attacks against journalists seem to be increasing

In the framework of the seventy-fourth meeting of the International Free Press Society that was held in Salta, Argentina, it was expressed a deep concern about the safety of journalists in the exercise of their profession. According to the final document that contains the conclusions of the assembly, 20 journalists have been killed while on duty since April, and 30 have been murdered in the last year.

Leer en español: Las amenazas y agresiones contra los periodistas parecen ir en aumento

In addition, "eight professionals were killed in Mexico, seven in the United States, two in Brazil, two in Colombia and one in Nicaragua." Among the reasons that led to the murders, the SIP highlighted that the work of these journalists contributed to their respective communities and made some sectors uncomfortable, which resulted in threats and harassment for journalists.

According to the portal of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), between 2003 and 2017, 1035 professional journalists were killed, this last year being the least deadly for them. The IFPS believes that "the cycle of threats, attacks and deaths against journalists, far from abated, seems to be increasing." In terms of killings, 50 victims were the product of violence against journalists in 2017, according to RSF.

Although the comparison is made from a context of global statistics (RSF) against those that consider the American continent (SIP), these turn out to be contradictory. If we consider the figures of murders that the RSF provides, since 2015 murders of journalists have been reduced. Three years ago there were 81 victims; in 2016, 62; and last year, 50.

Thus, it can be considered that lethal violence against journalists is being reduced. However, the IFPS also refers to the "threats and aggressions" they may be suffering. Have these also been reduced? The problem is that they are difficult to measure.

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When it comes to diagnosing, this is done through perception surveys, such as the Antonio Nariño project of the Foundation for a New Ibero-American Journalism; or through the number of complaints made about aggressions. This suggests that unreported cases help to distort the reality of journalists' security.

The IFPS also recognizes a boom in laws in countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic, where they are in the process of approving regulations that would introduce obstacles to journalism. Also, the IFPS document alludes to the political polarization that prevents journalists from doing their job properly.

Examples such as that of Donald Trump, who constantly harasses media such as CNN and says that they are fake news, serve to illustrate how the exercise of journalism in the context of information technology is impeded.

The new information technologies were the other axis of analysis for the IFPS assembly. The most urgent need around these conditions is to adapt the security of journalists and information against the threats posed by technology. An example of this is the call to the non-regulation of the internet, allowing access to information and free data traffic.

LatinAmerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández

Translated from "Las amenazas y agresiones contra los periodistas parecen ir en aumento"

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