With 32 already killed, 2018 set to be deadly year for journalists
On Monday, an Islamic State suicide bomber struck Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. When journalists arrived to cover the scene, a second bomb detonated. In total, 25 people were killed, including nine journalists.
The brazen attack -- which occurred just days before the UN’s May 3 World Press Freedom Day -- has put a spotlight on the dangers journalists face while doing their jobs.
Just over a week ago, hundreds marched in Ecuador after a pair of journalists and their driver were kidnapped and killed. Last month, similar scenes played out in the streets of Slovakia where an investigative journalist who had been researching political corruption was shot to death, along with his fiancée.
“We really need to step up as an international community to make sure that journalists are not killed for their job and that they don’t end up withdrawing themselves from the profession because they’re afraid of being killed,” Margaux Ewen, the executive director of Reporters Without Borders North America, told CTV News from Washington, D.C.
According to Reporters Without Borders, 65 journalists were killed worldwide in 2017.
While that number was the lowest in a decade, as of today, nearly half that figure -- 32 -- have been killed so far in 2018, according to the International Federation of Journalists. The year still has eight months left to go.
“The number of journalists that died today (in Afghanistan) is equivalent to the number of journalists who died in the whole of last year in Afghanistan,” Journalists for Human Rights executive director Rachel Pulfer told CTV News from Toronto. “And I fear that that's going to reverse the trend."
In 2017, the most deadly country for professional journalists to work in was not war-torn Afghanistan, but Mexico, where 11 were killed.
These deadly assaults also come at a time when reporters are increasingly under verbal attack from world leaders, including those that head democratic countries.
U.S. President Donald Trump has called those who work in the media “very dishonest people.” Last year, the president of the Czech Republic waved a mock assault rifle in front of reporters, which was taken as a thinly veiled threat. And in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that corrupt reporters would not be exempt from assassination.
"What we've seen is a worsening of relations between press and government in democracies as well as in dictatorships,” Pulfer said.
With a report from CTV News’ John Vennavally-Rao