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53 Journalists Killed So Far in 2018   12/19 06:33

   NEW YORK (AP) -- The number of journalists killed worldwide in retaliation 
for their work nearly doubled this year, according to an annual report by the 
Committee to Protect Journalists.

   The New York-based organization found that 34 journalists were killed in 
retaliation for their work as of Dec. 14, while at least 53 were killed 
overall. That compares to 18 retaliation killings among the 47 deaths 
documented by the committee in 2017.

   The report issued Wednesday includes the killing of Washington Post 
columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a native of Saudi Arabia fiercely critical of its 
royal regime. His Oct. 2 death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has led 
to tremors on the global political scene around allegations that Saudi Crown 
Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved.

   Khashoggi lived in self-imposed exile in the United States, and had gone to 
the Saudi consulate to formalize his divorce, but was instead strangled and 
dismembered --- allegedly by Saudi agents.

   Asked whether he believed the crown prince had ordered Khashoggi's murder, 
President Donald Trump said last month, "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't." 
While the president condemned the violence against journalists, the committee 
noted that he has called them "enemies of the people."

   In addition to retaliation killings, journalists have died in combat or 
crossfire, or on other dangerous assignments. The deadliest country for 
journalists this year has been Afghanistan, where 13 journalists were killed, 
some in back-to-back blasts staged by suicide bombers and claimed by the 
militant group Islamic State, according to the report.

   Media freedom group Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday that the U.S. 
made it into the top five deadliest countries for journalists this year for the 
first time, with six dying, including four who were among five people killed by 
a gunman who opened fire in the offices of Maryland newspaper Capital Gazette 
on June 28. The shooting was the deadliest single attack on the media in recent 
U.S. history. A sales associate was also killed. The man had threatened the 
newspaper after losing a defamation lawsuit. Another two died while covering 
extreme weather.

   In addition, the committee said the imprisonment of journalists has been on 
the rise.

   "The context for the crisis is varied and complex, and closely tied to 
changes in technology that have allowed more people to practice journalism even 
as it has made journalists expendable to the political and criminal groups who 
once needed the news media to spread their message," the committee said in its 

   Time magazine last week recognized jailed and killed journalists as its 
"person of the year," including Khashoggi, Maria Ressa imprisoned in the 
Philippines, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo imprisoned in Myanmar, and staff at the 
Capital Gazette.

   Journalists also have died this year in Slovakia, where 27-year-old 
investigative reporter Jan Kuciak was fatally shot while probing alleged 
corruption. Last year in Malta, Daphne Caruana Galizia, on a similar mission, 
was killed by a bomb placed in her car. At least four journalists were murdered 
in Mexico, two in Brazil, and two Palestinian journalists were shot and killed 
by Israeli soldiers during protests in the Gaza Strip, according to the report.

   In Syria and Yemen, two of the worst civil-war decimated countries, the 
fewest journalists were killed since 2011. Three died in Yemen, and in Syria, 
the committee recorded nine deaths compared to a high of 31 in 2012. However, 
the drop may be due to limited access or extreme risks that discourage media 
visits, the committee said.


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