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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

CPJ's list of the deadliest countries for journalists in 2015 includes Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala



Deadly violence against journalists in Latin America has continued to grow this year, with four countries from the region making the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) list of deadliest countries for journalists in 2015.

Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala were the deadliest countries in Latin America for journalists in 2015, according the organization's year-end report. Between them, CPJ confirmed that the murders of 12 journalists were related to their work. Six of the cases were in Brazil.

In 2014, the organization confirmed that seven journalists were killed in the line of duty in Latin America. Paraguay, which had three confirmed deaths last year, fell off this year's list.

Journalists killed in Latin America this year reported on dangerous topics including organized crime or corruption and some had received threats to their lives prior to their deaths.

Brazilian journalist Gleydson Carvalho died August 6, 2015 after two men fatally shot him at his radio studio while he was on air. (Photo courtesy Carvalho's Facebook page)

In its report, CPJ included the deaths of journalists in which the motive for the killing has been confirmed to be directly related to his or her work. It also includes journalists who were "killed in crossfire during combat situations" or who were "killed while carrying out a dangerous assignment such as coverage of a street protest." The organization is working to determine if the killings of six other journalists in Latin America were directly related to their work; those journalists are included in a list below.

With six deaths confirmed by the organization to be related to the journalist's work , Brazil was the third deadliest country for journalists in the world in 2015. The country "registered its highest number of killings since CPJ began keeping detailed records in 1992," according to an organization press release. The organization did note strides in the country in convicting murderers of journalists in the last two years.

Most recently, 30-year-old blogger Ítalo Eduardo Diniz Barros was killed in Maranhão state on Nov. 13. Just three days earlier, community radio journalist Israel Gonçalves Silva was killed in Pernambuco state.

Earlier in the year, radio journalist Gleydson Carvalho was shot while on air at Radio Liberdade FM in Camocim, Ceará in August.

Within one week in May, the bodies of two murdered journalists were found in the eastern part of the country. On May 18, the decapitated body of 'Coruja do Vale' blogger Evany José Metzker was found in Minas Gerais. Days later, police discovered the tortured body of community radio journalist Djalma Santos da Conceição in Bahia.

In a region that has been particularly dangerous for journalists in recent years, Paraguayan radio journalist Gerardo Ceferino Servían Coronel was killed in Ponta Porã, Brazil on the Brazil-Paraguay border on March 5. 

CPJ confirmed the deaths of four journalists in Mexico in 2015, making that country the 8th most deadliest nation for journalists this year. The southern states of Oaxaca and Veracruz have seen the highest levels of violence this year.

Photo of murdered photographer Rubén Espinosa. (Knight Center/Jesús Nazario)

The most recent death, the July killing of photographer Rubén Espinosa Becerril in Mexico City, attracted international attention and galvanized efforts to confront violence against journalists in Mexico.

Two people shot radio journalist Filadelfo Sánchez Sarmiento outside his office in Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz, Oaxaca on the morning of July 2. Two months before, in May, the body of Veracruz radio journalist Armando Saldaña Morales was found in Oaxaca.

Only two days into the start of 2015, journalist José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo disappeared after armed individuals took him from his home in Medellín de Bravo. His body was found on January 24 in Veracruz.

CPJ confirmed the deaths of two journalists in the last two Latin American countries on the 2015 list: Colombia and Guatemala.

Colombian radio journalist Flor Alba Núñez Vargas, 25, was shot while walking into her workplace in Pitalito, Huila department on September 10.

And, on March 10, Guatemalan newspaper reporter Danilo López was covering an official government event in Mazatenango, Suchitepéquez when he was fatally shot.

CPJ reported that a total 69 journalists worldwide were killed in 2015 as a result of their work. Syria and France, with 13 and nine journalist deaths confirmed respectively, were the deadliest countries, according to the organization.

Photo of Flor Alba Núñez Vargas from her Twitter account

The organization found that the most common beats covered by the deceased journalists were politics and human rights.

Freedom of expression and press freedom organizations each have their own criteria for determining whether a killing was connected to the work of a journalist or media worker. As a result, reports from different organizations will offer different numbers for total journalists killed as a result of their work.

For example, in the year-end report from Reporters Without Borders (RSF for its acronym in French), a total of eight journalists were killed in Mexico in 2015. "Mexico continues to be Latin America's deadliest country for journalists," the organization said in a press release. Yet, RSF has only confirmed the motive for three of the deaths as being related to the journalist's work.

Listed below are 15 additional cases of Latin American journalist deaths which are not included in CPJ’s numbers for killings with confirmed motives. Some are being investigated by CPJ, others have been reported by organizations like RSF. We’ve also included killings of journalists and media workers covered this year on the Knight Center’s Journalism in the America’s blog in which no motive has been determined.

Brazil

Colombia

Guatemala

Honduras

Mexico

 

*Lorenzo Holt assisted with this post.




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