Khashoggi: One year on

‘It’s easier to kill the story by killing the journalist’

Not only are journalists increasingly the targets of violent crimes, but in this era of surging authoritarianism and right-wing nationalism, more often than not the perpetrators are getting away with it. And that is the biggest threat to press freedom, writes Borzou Daragahi

Tuesday 01 October 2019 16:00
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A protester holds a poster of Daphne Caruana Galizia, assassinated in a car bomb attack in 2017, during a vigil demanding justice
A protester holds a poster of Daphne Caruana Galizia, assassinated in a car bomb attack in 2017, during a vigil demanding justice

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the killing of journalists around the world. Before the dissident journalist was torn limb from limb by Saudi regime agents, there was reporter Jan Kuciak, who was shot dead, along with his girlfriend, in Slovakia, for looking too closely into ties between the Italian mafia and the government in Bratislava.

A year earlier there was the case of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a journalist killed in a car bomb in Malta, after reporting links between the government and organised crime; and before that was Michael Douglas Deane, shot dead by Egyptian regime forces while covering the unrest in Cairo in 2013. And then there’s Mexico where scores of journalists have been killed over the years by drug cartels in league with corrupt local officials.

Across the world last year, 94 journalists were killed, according to the International Federation of Journalists, up from 82 the previous year. So far in 2019, at least 16 journalists have been killed in the line of duty, according to a running tally established by the Committee to Protect Journalists, including in Ghana, Mexico, Honduras, the Philippines and Ukraine.

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