ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: 110 journalistes ont été assassinés en 2015
Translated Thursday 28 January 2016, by
At the end of 2015 the figures are astounding: 110 journalists were murdered as a result of their profession or died suspicious deaths. At least 787 have been murdered in the course of their professional activities since 2005. Established 20 years ago, the annual round-up of acts of violence against journalists is one of the central pillars of the work of Reporters Without Borders, right beside those who risk their lives to keep us informed.
The very high number of reporters murdered during the course of the year brings the total of journalists murdered whilst carrying-out, or because of their job, to 787 since 2005 – due to more and more deliberate targeting of them. It also reveals a failure of initiatives designed to protect reporters. The secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, stated on 6 August 2015, in his annual report on the safety of journalists and on the lack of redress: “I am deeply concerned about the failure to reduce the frequency and scale of targeted violence that journalists face and the near absolute impunity for such crimes.”
Groups without state ties perpetrate this violence, whilst too many states do not fulfil their obligations under international law. On 27 May 2015, Christophe Deloire, general secretary of Reporters Without Borders, addressed the UN security council, calling for the establishment of a system to guarantee the application of international law for the protection of journalists. Without such it is feared that resolution 2222, like resolution 1738 adopted in 2006, will be simply... a good resolution. In 2014, two-thirds of reporters killed worldwide, died in war zones. In 2015, the balance was completely reversed: two-thirds of journalists were killed “in peacetime”.
Even in capitals far removed from conflict journalists can be hit, as was the case of the 7 January attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. On 8 October, director of Charlie Hebdo, Riss, stated: “We have hardly ever sent journalists to war zones [...]. On 7 January, the war came to us”. Homicides linked to their profession? The motives for the deaths of 43 journalists during the course of last year remain undetermined due to a lack of thorough and impartial official investigations – through lack of state volition or because of difficulties found in unstable and lawless regions. These “undetermined motives” reflect the problem of the lack of redress for the crimes carried-out against journalists in numerous regions worldwide (Latin America, Asia Pacific, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa).
The attack on Charlie Hebdo made France the third most deadly country for journalists in the course of their professions in 2015. An unprecedented tragedy: never before has a western country seen such a massacre. Since last January, journalist and associates of Charlie Hebdo live under conditions of high security. Certain ones are still, today, forced to regularly change address. Last May, the journalist handling issues of religion and Islam explained how she changed between living in hotels and with friends. She stressed the difficulties she found in doing her job under such threats, particularly on the difficulty of reporting whilst with a police escort.