No fewer than 101 journalists were killed in 2016 while doing their jobs, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), said on Tuesday.
Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, said the figure represented an equivalence of one journalist being killed every four days.
“The profession of a journalist is not a safe one, and a press accreditation card or display of media equipment has often served as an extra reason to be targeted,” La Rue, said.
The UN agency coordinates the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which aimed to aid media workers and journalists working in conflict and non-conflict situations.
According to the figures, most of the lives were lost in the Arab States where the armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have claimed the largest share, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean.
Each killing has been condemned by UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, who called on authorities to investigate the murders.
La Rue said in addition to physical violence, journalists were also threatened through online hate speech and gender-based harassment.
“When crimes against journalists, of any kind, remain unpunished, it implies that media can continuously be harassed and attacked.
“Impunity slowly gags journalists and media, where fear of reprisal turns into self-censorship, depriving each and every one of us from vital information,” La Rue added.
UNESCO is the UN agency tasked with the defence of press freedom. (NAN)