Washington Post by Editorial Board
December 30, 2018
THE DEBATE triggered by the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was exceptional in part because, by some measures, his case was not unusual. The Post contributing columnist, who was assaulted, suffocated and dismembered by a hit squad in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, was just one of dozens of journalists around the world who were murdered in 2018 because of their work. Hundreds more are imprisoned. The growing climate of violence and intimidation directed against the media recently prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to describe “a profound global crisis of press freedom.”
In a year-end report, CPJ counted 53 journalists killed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 14, including 34 targeted in reprisal for their work — nearly double the 18 such murders it recorded in 2017. Reporters Without Borders, another independent group, counted 63 professional journalists killed; it counted 49 killed journalists, including professionals, non-professionals and media workers, who were deliberately targeted. The murders ranged in location from Afghanistan, where nine journalists were killed in a single suicide bombing this past April, to Annapolis, where four reporters and editors of the Capital Gazette and a sales assistant were shot and killed June 28 allegedly by a man who had repeatedly threatened the paper.
No region of the world was exempt. In European Union member Slovakia, investigative journalist Jan Kuciak was gunned down along with his fiancee. At least four journalists were murdered in Mexico, CPJ said, and two in Brazil. But the violence was concentrated in Afghanistan and the Middle East. The 13 Afghan journalists killed were the most ever recorded in a year by CPJ; terrorists there have adopted the appalling tactic of bombing targets twice — with the second explosion aimed at rescue workers and reporters. At least nine journalists were killed in Syria, three in Yemen and two in the Gaza Strip.