Haiti among top countries within Latin America and the Caribbean where media workers killed

February 08, 2023

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 8, CMC – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says 68 media professionals, including seven in the Caribbean country of Haiti, were killed last year in work-related incidents around the world.

In its  32nd  annual report, the IFJ said the killings came in a year marking the 10th anniversary of the United Nations’ Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

“This figure represents a surge of 21 more killings than the last year and a dramatic reversal of the downwards trend observed in recent years, thus putting world leaders on notice that there is still much to be done in creating a safe and free environment for journalists and media workers as foreseen in the UN Plan of Action.”

In its “2022 Killed List” report, the IFJ noted that last year,  the Latin American and Caribbean region recorded a worrying rise in the number of attacks and threats against press workers, resulting in the killings of at least 30 journalists and other media workers across the continent.

It said none of the eight countries in which journalists have been killed is in a declared armed conflict and Mexico is once again the most dangerous country in the region, with 11 deadly attacks against communicators, reporters and journalists.

“It is worth noting that in Mexico, during 2022, there were at least five more cases of deaths of journalists in violent circumstances, but it was not possible to confirm the deaths were linked to their work. Although there have been some progress in investigations of some of the crimes committed this year, 95 per cent of the cases remain unpunished,” the report noted.

It said of all the countries where violence occurred, only Haiti is going through a crisis with internal armed confrontations as a result of a long political, humanitarian, economic and social crisis.

“But even there, journalists are not only being caught in the crossfire but targeted by both organised crime groups and security forces,” the IFJ said, adding however “this is where the first murders of 2022 were recorded in the region and also the last one, which was committed against Francklin Tamar on 18 December”.

According to the IFJ, shortly before that, Romelson Vilcin was killed, in a case that was all the more tragic as the journalist was killed by police’s action in the context of a spontaneous mobilisation of press workers who had gathered at a police station to demand the release of a colleague unjustly detained.

The IFJ said that while Mexico and Haiti are at the top the list of violent incidents in the region, more colleagues lost their lives to violence in six other countries on the continent, namely Colombia, Honduras, Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador and Chile, where Francisca Sandoval was murdered, ending a 32-year streak without any journalists killed since the country’s return of democracy.

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