99 journalists killed in 2023, 77 in Gaza war: report

The toll is the highest since 2015 and an increase of nearly 44 percent on 2022's figures.

The vast majority of the 77 journalists killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict -- 72 of them -- were Palestinian, the organization said. Three Lebanese and two Israelis were also killed. Photo : Agency

 

 

New York (AFP):  Seventy-seven of the 99 journalists killed in 2023 were killed in the Israel-Hamas war, making the last 12 months the deadliest for the media in almost a decade, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.

Killings of reporters would have dropped globally year-on-year had it not been for the deaths in that conflict, the CPJ said, although fatalities were stable in Somalia and the Philippines.

The toll is the highest since 2015 and an increase of nearly 44 percent on 2022's figures.

"In December 2023, CPJ reported that more journalists were killed in the first three months of the Israel-Gaza war than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year," the CPJ said.

The vast majority of the 77 journalists killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict -- 72 of them -- were Palestinian, the organization said. Three Lebanese and two Israelis were also killed.

"Journalists in Gaza are bearing witness on the frontlines," said CPJ chief executive Jodie Ginsberg.

"The immense loss suffered by Palestinian journalists in this war will have long-term impacts for journalism not just in the Palestinian territories but for the region and beyond. Every journalist killed is a further blow to our understanding of the world."

On February 7, the New York-based press freedom organization said the number of journalists killed in the Gaza conflict had risen to 85.

CPJ has previously attacked what it calls "persecution" of journalists by Israeli forces, and is investigating whether a dozen journalists killed in the Gaza conflict were deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers, which would constitute "a war crime."

Israel vowed to crush Hamas in response to the Islamist group's October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Militants also took around 250 people hostage, in the deadliest-ever attack in the country, and around 130 of them are believed to remain in Gaza, including 29 who are believed to be dead.

At least 28,576 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israel's retaliatory military offensive on Gaza, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

The greatest reductions in journalist fatalities were registered in Ukraine and Mexico, which both went from 13 killings to two.

One of those killed in Ukraine was AFP journalist Arman Soldin. Soldin, 32, died when his reporting team came under fire near the eastern city of Bakhmut.

The CPJ warned that Mexico, along with the Philippines and Somalia, was "one of the world's deadliest countries for the press."

"Compounding the situation, government agencies spy on reporters and rights defenders, and a significant number of journalists have had to leave their homes, and abandon their professions, due to violence," the CPJ report warned.