BY INSI

High number of women among this year’s media casualties

2017 saw an unusually high number of women among the 68 journalists killed doing their jobs this year, according to Killing the Messenger, a biannual analysis of journalist casualties by the International News Safety Institute (INSI).

Out of the 68 journalists and media workers killed in connection with their work this year, nine were women. That is 13 percent of the total. Last year, the figures were three women out of 112 killed, or nearly three percent. In 2015 there were 10 women out of 101 casualties, or 10 percent.

This disproportionately high number of female casualties comes after a year when women across the industry spoke out en masse against the abuse and harassment they have experienced at the hands of sexual predators.

“This is the highest proportion of women killed in comparison with their male colleagues in the eight years since I joined INSI, and it is a particularly egregious finding in the current climate,” said INSI director Hannah Storm.

High profile female deaths in 2017 included Kim Wall whose headless torso was discovered in the sea near Copenhagen; Shifa Gardi, a pioneering Kurdish journalist; Gauri Lankesh who became the most high-profile journalist killed in India in recent years; and Miroslava Breach who spent the days before her murder in March documenting the murders of others in Mexico’s drug war.

Afghanistan, Mexico, Iraq, Syria and the Philippines were the five most dangerous countries for journalists in 2017, according to Killing the Messenger which is compiled for INSI by Cardiff School of Journalism.

Statistically speaking, the overall number of journalists killed is lower than in recent years, and insecurity does not discriminate on the basis of gender.

Out of the 68 media casualties, 32 men and women died in countries supposedly at peace such as Mexico, India and Malta.

The vast majority of casualties were local journalists, living and working where they died.

Four citizen journalists lost their lives this year, all but one of them in Syria where access for professional media workers continues to be difficult and dangerous.

INSI identified nine cases where suspects were identified, arrests made and legal proceedings initiated. These include Peter Madsen who has been charged with the murder of Wall and three men charged in connection with the killing of Malta’s Daphne Caruana Galizia, an investigative journalist blown up by a car bomb in October.

“At INSI we pay tribute to every journalist killed doing their work, whatever their gender, ethnicity or religion. The 68 men and women killed this year have paid the ultimate price and every single one leaves a legacy of loss,” said Storm. 

Image by AFP