By RÛDAW 12 hours ago
A blood-covered camera in Baghdad. AFP photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan region — Nineteen journalists were killed covering the activities of the Islamic State this year, according to a press release by the International Press Institute (IPI) released Thursday promoting its Death Watch monitoring list.
The release said 13 of the 19 journalists whose deaths were tied to ISIS were Iraqis.
“All of the 13 Iraqi journalists killed this year were either executed by Islamic State group militants or died while reporting on IS-related conflicts,” according to the IPI, using IS, an alternative acronym for ISIS.
The year 2015 has the potential to become the deadliest year ever for journalists internationally, according to IDI. It said it had confirmed 61 deaths of journalists on the job around the world this year, and was reviewing an additional 54 deaths to see if they qualified for inclusion on their tracking list. The previous record recognized by IPI had 2012 as the deadliest year for journalists, with 133 deaths, but with as many as 115 only by September, the report warned 2015 could beat the grisly high mark.
“IPI’s figures reveal the alarming extent to which journalists around the world are increasingly targeted for their reporting,” IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said in the release. “The killing of a journalist is the most heinous way not only of silencing an individual report or the media of a particular country, but also of denying the public news and information to which it has a right.”
The release said that though accidents can occur on the job, the majority of deaths this year were intentional, and carried out to silence the press.
“The overwhelming majority of deaths this year, however, have been intentional killings of journalists who were targeted because of their profession or the content of their reporting,” IPI said. “Around the world, 46 journalists have been assassinated or murdered since January, several of whom had previously received death threats or had been kidnapped.”
Earlier this month ISIS killed Mosul’s Rasheed Radio Chief Yahya Abdul Hamad after abducting him from his home. IPI in its report also noted the deaths of Iraqi journalists Firas Al-Bahri and Ikhlas Ghanim, both executed by ISIS.
Other instances of press murders from around the world were also highlighted.
In Brazil, radio show host Gleydson Carvalho was assassinated in August live on the air by two gunmen. Carvalho was known for going after stories tackling government corruption. Also in South America, Colombian journalist Flor Alba Núñez Vargas was killed on September 10 after she arrived at her radio station. Vargas was known for stories going after drug crime and human trafficking.
Trionfi, speaking on the deaths of journalist in general, added that finding the killers of journalists is often made difficult by governments hesitant to track down and prosecute their murderers.
“The large number of cases under review reflects the difficulty of obtaining reliable information about the motives behind the killings of journalists, in large part due to the failure of states to conduct proper and open investigations,” she said. “The inability, or in some cases unwillingness, to bring perpetrators to justice is what continues to fuel these terrible crimes.”