Nobel Prize Ceremony: Ressa and Muratov represent a profession with at least 1,636 murders in 20 years (46 in 2021) | Reporters Without Borders

For the first time in more than 80 years, the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded, on Friday, December 10, to two journalists: the Filipino Maria Ressa and the Russian Dmitri Muratov. The two winners represent, according to the Nobel Committee, “the courageous fight for freedom of expression”, at a time when democracy and freedom of the press face multiple threats.

These threats are clearly reflected in the number of murdered in the profession. According to RSF statistics, during the last 20 years at least 1,636 journalists have been victims of homicide for exercising their work, of which 916 only in the last decade. Since 2015, the year in which the last resolution of the UN Security Council regarding the protection of journalists was approved (the secretary general of RSF intervened in that session, prior to the adoption of resolution 2222), the number of Murdered journalists experience a steady decline to 46 registered this year. This decline is explained by both structural and conjunctural factors (see below).

“The presentation of this prestigious award to two journalists, at a time when the right to information is threatened by multiple threats, honors and commits us,” says RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire. “We call for the awakening and mobilization of all affected parties, starting with the UN, but also by the States and their citizens. Freedom to report requires numerous guarantees, but the first of all, of course, is that journalists can continue to live and work, without a sword of Damocles hanging over them. Too many countries still do not protect threatened journalists and this contributes to increased insecurity. Reporting should not kill ”, he adds.

The number of 46 journalists killed in 2021 is the lowest recorded in the last 19 years and is mainly explained by the lower intensity of conflicts that were especially deadly between 2012 and 2016 (Syria, Iraq, Yemen). It is also the result of the intense mobilization of organizations in defense of press freedom, especially RSF, to implement national and international protection mechanisms, which, however, remain insufficient. Finally, this decrease is also due to the fact that the newsrooms are sending fewer and fewer reporters to the field, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but also because some regions of the world, such as Libya or the Sahel, are too dangerous for professionals in information, which have been transformed into objectives.

The two winners by the Nobel Committee in 2021 come from countries considered one of the most dangerous for journalists.

Maria Ressa’s Philippines: journalists in the spotlight

33: number of journalists killed in the Philippines, in the last 10 years

fifteen: number of journalists assassinated since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power on June 30, 2016.

8th: prey to systemic violence (political crisis, separatism, drug trafficking …) and led by President Rodrigo Duterte, described by RSF as a “predator of press freedom”, the archipelago is the eighth most dangerous country in the world for journalists, according to the statistics collected by RSF for 10 years. The Philippines shares this square with Yemen, a country ravaged by war.

138: The Philippines is ranked 138 out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index published by RSF.

Dmitri Muratov’s Russia: killings and impunity

7: number of journalists killed in Russia, in the last 10 years

37: number of journalists killed since President Vladimir Putin came to power on May 7, 2000. (Two more murders are still under investigation)

21st: Russia, where six editors of Novaya gazeta (among them, Anna Politkovskaya) have been assassinated since its founding in 1993, it is the twenty-first most deadly country for the press in 10 years, according to data collected by RSF. The editor-in-chief of Novaya gazeta, Dmitri Muratov, dedicated his Nobel Prize to all of them.

150 : Russia is ranked 150 out of 180 in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index

RSF will publish the data set of journalists murdered, imprisoned, kidnapped and disappeared in 2021 on December 16.

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Nobel Prize Ceremony: Ressa and Muratov represent a profession with at least 1,636 murders in 20 years (46 in 2021) | Reporters Without Borders