Pakistan

Pakistan 'most dangerous country for the media' in 2014: IFJ

BRUSSELS: The number of journalists who died in targeted killings, bomb attacks or shootings around the world rose to 118 in 2014 from 105 the year before, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)said on Tuesday.

Another 17 died in accidents or natural disasters while on assignment, according to the Brussels-based IFJ, which says it is the world’s largest journalists’ organisation.

Pakistan was the most dangerous country for the media, with 14 journalists killed. Next was Syria, where 12 died.

Nine killings each occurred in Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, the federation said. Eight journalists each were killed in Iraq and Ukraine.

Among those killed were American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Both were beheaded by Islamic State militants, who have seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

The IFJ said its figures were a reminder of the growing threats to journalists, and it called on governments to make protecting members of the media a priority.

“It is time for action in the face of unprecedented threats to journalists who are targeted not only to restrict the free flow of information, but increasingly as leverage to secure huge ransoms and political concessions through sheer violence,” IFJ President Jim Boumelha said.

“As a result, some media organisations are weary of sending reporters to war zones out of fear for their safety, even of using material gathered by freelancers in these areas. Failure to improve media safety will adversely impact the coverage of war which will be poorer for lack of independent witnesses,” he said. -Reuters

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