Press freedom declines worldwide in 2022 | Inquirer News
Over 100 PH journalists killed since 2003

Press freedom declines worldwide in 2022

/ 05:36 AM January 03, 2023

Press freedom across the world continued to decline in the past year, which saw over 530 journalists detained and 57 killed in the line of duty, according to an international media watchdog that took stock of the perils journalists faced in 2022.

In its annual roundup of cases of violence and abuses against journalists in the world, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) paid tribute to the “faces, personalities, talent and commitment of those who have paid with their lives for their information gathering, their search for the truth and their passion for journalism.”


“This year’s end is an appropriate time to pay tribute to them and to appeal for full respect for the safety of journalists wherever they work and bear witness to the world’s realities,” said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of RSF.

In particular, RSF noted that while laxer travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic allowed more journalists to do more reporting on the field, it also led to more journalists killed or detained across the world.


This includes, for example, the case of Tacloban journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who remains in detention over charges of illegal possession of explosives and firearms.

Before her arrest, Cumpio had been working for a local alternative outfit called Eastern Vista, where she reported on the plight of marginalized sectors.

Cumpio’s case was emblematic of another troubling pattern in press freedom last year, which saw a record rise of women journalists put behind bars.

Women not spared

At the end of 2022, women accounted for 14.6 percent of imprisoned journalists compared to five years ago, when only seven in every 100 journalists were women.

“This rise both reflects the growing proportion of women in journalism and confirms that women are not spared from the repression faced by journalists,” RSF said in its annual roundup published over the weekend. “Like their male colleagues, they are victims of the regimes that are harshest toward press freedom.”

Amid a rise in murders, contract killings, ambushes, war zone deaths and fatal injuries of journalists, there are now at least 1,668 journalists killed worldwide in the line of duty.

This means that there are 80 journalists killed every year, RSF noted. Even more worrisome, RSF said, is that 2022’s death toll was the highest in the past four years. At least eight of the 57 deaths this year were traced back to the war in Ukraine that broke out last February.


Even so, RSF noted that there were “more journalists who have been killed in ‘zones at peace’ than in ‘zones of war’ during the past two decades, in most cases because they were investigating organized crime and corruption.”

2 PH broadcasters shot

“Reporting on these two topics led to the killing of 13 and 12 journalists respectively in 2022. Further, four journalists who were working on deforestation and land seizures by major business corporations were also killed during the past year,” the report noted.

Based on the data, the Americas were the world’s most dangerous region for journalists in 2022 with half of the 57 deaths recorded worldwide. Asia, meanwhile, was the fourth most dangerous region, with RSF taking particular mention of the Philippines, which has recorded over 100 journalists killed since 2003.

Last year, the country saw two veteran broadcasters shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen: Renato Blanco and Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa, whose death triggered a maelstrom of controversy at New Bilibid Prison.

Lastly, 2022 also saw two journalists who went missing while reporting, bringing the number of total disappeared journalists in the past two decades to 49.

The figures compiled for this year’s roundup include professional journalists, nonprofessional journalists and media workers, and don’t account for arrests, releases, deaths or disappearances that took place after Dec. 1, 2022. INQ


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