Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

NNA – The number of journalists killed in the line of duty fell this year, despite reporter deaths in Gaza in the past two months, media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said Thursday.

In the first 11 months of 2023, 45 journalists were killed carrying out their work, down from 61 last year, according to the annual report by RSF.nbsp;

It was the smallest number since 33 died in 2002, largely due to a major drop in Latin America.nbsp;

While some 63 journalists have been killed in the Middle East since the October 7 start of fighting between Israel and Islamist group Hamas, only 17 of those deaths fell under RSF#39;s definition.

quot;It takes nothing away from the tragedy in Gaza but we are observing a regular decline, and are very far from the 140 journalists killed in 2012 and again in 2013quot; because of the wars in Syria and Iraq, RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire told AFP.

The decline is due to efforts by inter-governmental organisations and NGOs to combat impunity, as well as to greater quot;prudencequot; by reporters themselves, he said.

Of the 17 journalists RSF counted as killed carrying out their profession in the Middle East since October 7, 13 were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza, three died in Lebanon and one was killed in Israel by Hamas.

RSF in November said it filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court for quot;war crimesquot; for these deaths.

AFP last week said its investigation showed that Israeli tank fire was responsible for killing Reuters cameraman Issam Abdallah on October 13 and wounding six others, including AFP photographer Christina Assi.nbsp;

A spokesperson for the Israeli army said the journalists were in an quot;active combat zonequot; in southern Lebanon, an answer that Deloire called quot;not satisfactory.quot;

The war in Ukraine cost the life of two reporters in 2023, including AFP reporter Arman Soldin, quot;the only reporter to have lost their life outside their own countryquot;, RSF said.

A total of 11 reporters have been killed since the start of the conflict in February 2022.–AFP