Anyone who watches the news should be keenly aware of the many risks foreign correspondents and journalists like Richard Engel (as an example) face when they cover stories in war-torn countries, like Syria and Iraq. But have you ever wondered which countries are the most dangerous and inspire the most fear in the hearts of even the toughest journalists?
One thing you should realize is that the most dangerous countries do not necessarily remain static. They change as events unfold across the world. Think, for instance, about the Syrian Civil War that erupted in 2011. Also think about the situation in Iraq, where the Islamic State is currently executing people left and right.
According to Business Insider, at least 741 journalists have been killed, and 2012 journalists imprisoned since 2000. What’s interesting is that the list pertaining to each of these examples (journalists killed and journalists imprisoned) differs like night and day. The former list contains countries like Iraq, Syria, Russia and Pakistan, while the latter list contains countries like China, Iran, Cuba and Turkey.
What’s also interesting is that the most dangerous country for journalists to cover changes based on whether you are looking at long-term or short-term trends. Business Insider pinpoints Iraq as being the most dangerous because at least 165 journalists have died there since 1992. Second on the list is the Philippines with 76 journalists, and third on the list is Syria with 66 journalists:
Meanwhile, Forbes lists Syria as the most dangerous country because at least six journalists have been killed there this year alone, whereas only 4 have been killed in Iraq. Keep in mind that these statistics originate from August 21, meaning they likely do not take into consideration the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight adds a bit of additional information via the following chart:
Furthermore, “44 percent of those killed had been covering politics, 20 percent had been covering corruption and 18 percent had been covering human rights.” All this data cited by FiveThirtyEight can be traced back to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which is a widely recognized New York City-based nonprofit that “promotes press freedom” and fights for the rights of journalists worldwide.
There’s one more factor consider when examining that countries are the most dangerous for journalists: kidnappings. According to Mashable, which too used data from CPJ, there are currently a minimum of 39 journalists who are outright missing. Furthermore, 20 of them are missing in Syria. So while Iraq is by far the most dangerous country for journalists when you look at the picture from a long-term perspective, it’s very clear that at the current moment, Syria is the place to avoid.
Image via [Google Images]