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Report: Journalist deaths drop in 2016, but dangers remain

The death toll for journalists dropped in 2016, but the number of detained journalists has risen. According to Reporters Without Borders, Turkey has turned into the “world’s biggest prison for the media profession.”

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has published its annual roundup of the number of journalists killed in 2016, marking a significant decrease compared to last year.

At least 74 journalists or media workers were killed or disappeared in 2016.

However, the report, released Monday, noted that the decrease in journalist fatalities and disappearances had been the result of members of the press fleeing dangerous countries.

Syria topped the list of most dangerous countries for journalists and other media workers, alongside Afghanistan, Mexico, Iraq and Yemen.

Approximately two-thirds of the deaths occurred in conflict-affected regions, according to the report.

In 2015, at least 110 journalists were killed, 67 of them while performing their job.

Earlier this month, the press freedom watchdog reported that a total of 348 journalists were currently detained worldwide, marking a 6 percent increase compared to last year.

Turkey’s ‘witch hunt’

In Turkey, the number of detained journalists has risen 22 percent, effectively quadrupling in the wake of the failed coup in July.

“The persecution of journalists around the world is growing at a shocking rate,” said Christophe Deloire, RSF secretary general.

“At the gateway to Europe, an all-out witch hunt has jailed dozens of journalists and has turned Turkey into the world’s biggest prison for the media profession,” he added.

Deloire also criticized the EU for failing to do more for press freedom in Turkey, saying the “Erdogan regime has crushed all media pluralism, while the European Union has said virtually nothing.”

More than 50 journalists are currently being held hostage, all of them in conflict zones in the Middle East with the “Islamic State” detaining at least 21 of them, according to RSF.

ls/cmk (dpa, epd)

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