World map showing journalists murdered in 2017. The year 2017 was named the most dangerous to be a journalist; a record 262 journalists were jailed, and 48 were killed in connection with their work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Graphic: The Washington Post

By Ruby Mellen
28 June 2018

(The Washington Post) – On Thursday, 28 June 2018, a gunman stormed the office of a local newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, killing at least five people and injuring two others. According to my colleagues, the attack “likely is the deadliest involving journalists in the United States in decades.” Police have said the attack targeted the newsroom and that the man arrested in the case had assailed the paper on social media after he sued it for defamation and lost.

Thursday’s violence served as a stark reminder that it has become increasingly dangerous to be a journalist around the world.

At least 41 journalists have been killed this year, according to data from the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 30 of those killed were journalists who were slain for doing their work, or were caught in the crossfire while taking risks to report a story. That total does not include the five who died in Annapolis on Thursday.

Beyond the violence, there has been a remarkable decline in press liberty worldwide. In April 2018, Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index, which yielded disheartening results for journalists and press-freedom advocates. The organization, known by its initials in French as RSF, found “growing animosity towards journalists” as authoritarian and democratic leaders alike successfully discredited and undermined the press.

“The climate of hatred is steadily more visible in the Index,” RSF said in its report. It pointed to hostility toward the media seeping into non-authoritarian countries, such as the United States. “More and more democratically-elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion,” the report added. [more]

The Annapolis shooting is another reminder: It’s getting more dangerous to be a journalist

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