For the first time ever, the United States has made it to Reporters Without Borders’ annual list of most-dangerous countries for journalists to work, The Hill is reporting.
For as long as Reporters Without Borders has been compiling reports, the deadliest countries for journalists have, without fail, almost always been Asian, African, and Eastern European regimes. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and similar places routinely make the list, while the U.S. has never been placed on it. Until now.
In 2018, six journalists were killed in the line of duty in the U.S. That means that the United States ranks beneath Afghanistan, Syria, Mexico, Yemen and India, in that order, when it comes to the number of journalists killed in the line of duty in their countries.
At this point it bears noting that the journalists killed in the U.S. were not killed on orders from oppressive regimes or from drug cartels. In the case of four journalists, all reporters at the Annapolis, Maryland Capitol Gazette — a disgruntled reader allegedly opened fire at the offices. The other two, a North Carolina television anchor and cameraman, were killed by a falling tree while covering a hurricane.
That’s not to say that the U.S. government welcomes truth-seeking journalists with open arms, however, as Reporters Without Borders Secretary General Christophe Deloire said in a press release.
If you want to know where UK stands in the world press freedom rankings, here‘s the link: https://t.co/zg0bNs7mAG— Grahame Lucas #FBPE #FBR (@GrahameLucas) December 18, 2018
“The hatred of journalists that is voiced, and sometimes very openly proclaimed, by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists.”
And while Deloire didn’t name any names, it is possible that he had the current president in mind while making his remarks. Trump is openly hostile to the mainstream news media, often calling any publication that is highly critical of his administration “fake news.” What’s more, Trump has routinely deemed the contemporary press “the enemy of the people,” as the Washington Post reported in October.
Outside of the United States, hostility towards journalists is more pronounced, open, and deadly. 348 journalists worldwide are imprisoned for their activities, with the most being held in prisons in China, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, according to Reuters.
It’s not mere imprisonment, either. Journalists worldwide have been subjected to torture, rape, murder, and “disappearances,” either on orders from their governments or from religious leaders, drug cartels, or other agencies.
80 journalists were killed in the line of duty in 2018, CNN reports.