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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Twelve journalists killed in 2013 in Latin America: RSF




By Diego Cruz*

Twelve journalists were killed in Latin American countries in 2013, according to an annual report by Reporters Without Borders released today.

This was less than last year’s 15 deaths, but the organization said the new numbers did not point to an improved situation. Although the overall status of press freedom in the region was considered stable, three countries were cause for concern: Mexico, Brazil and Honduras.

The situation has not improved, last year was exceptionally deadly, but things have gotten worse in some aspects,” said Benoît Hervieu, with Reporters Without Borders’ Americas Desk, according to Mexican newspaper El Universal.

Only two deaths were reported in Mexico, compared to six last year, but Hervieu said this was likely due to censorship and self-censorship, which stopped many journalists from covering dangerous topics. The report said the increase in self-censorship was partially due to the return to power of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and new government pressure on the media. Additionally, the number of kidnappings increased, with three journalists disappearing.

Brazil had the highest number of deaths in Latin America with five journalists killed, the same as in 2012. Hervieu said this was largely due to increased aggression toward the media over coverage of protests against transportation prices and expensive construction for the upcoming World Cup.

Honduras also had a high number of deaths with three journalists killed, a result of political tensions during the electoral year, Hervieu said. Two other deaths were reported, one in Paraguay and one in Colombia, where there was still a large number of threats to journalists.

The report indicated a total of 71 journalist deaths worldwide, less than last year’s 88. With ten deaths, Syria was the most violent country for journalists this year, followed closely by India, the Philippines, Somalia and Pakistan.

The number of kidnapped journalists increased by 129 percent to 87, most of them in the Middle East and North Africa.



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