In August 2017, journalist Kim Wall climbed aboard a submarine to interview the vessel’s owner, likely thinking it would be just another day of work. Instead, Wall was brutally murdered, dismembered and dumped overboard. And while the world was shocked and horrified by the brilliant reporter’s horrific end, many in the industry, while saddened by the tragic loss, were not surprised.
That’s because around the world, journalists put themselves in danger every day to deliver the news and inform the public. Some of those reporters work in deadly war zones, while others are under attack from tyrannical leaders and under political pressure to keep quiet about the truth they see. Yet, every single day, journalists around the world go to work to report the news and tell the people in their communities what they need to know. Tragically, many journalists never make it home to see the impact their work has had.
On May 3, we mark World Press Freedom Day, and we honor all those journalists who put their comfort and safety and sometimes freedom aside to keep us informed.
In 2017, according to Reporters Without Borders, 326 journalists were imprisoned around the world for doing their work. Sixty-five journalists were killed in the line of duty last year, and another 54 were held hostage by non-state actors (like terror groups). Yet, 2017 was the least deadly year for journalists in the past 14 years, and deaths were down 18 percent from 2016.
While 2017 showed a downward trend, 2018 is not looking promising. So far, this year, 29 journalists have been killed in connection with their work, and 317 journalists remain imprisoned around the globe. In the United States this year, two journalists have been arrested, eight have been attacked, nine have been subpoenaed, and there were two equipment seizures, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the reporting on 2018’s press freedom violations to date. It is our hope that by continuing to highlight these attacks on the media, we’ll be able to shine a light on the importance of quality journalism and the value reporters bring to their communities. We can only hope that, as more people learn of the dedication and commitment of the journalists they rely on for the news, more of those people will demand better treatment of reporters by those who seek to silence the media. The media works for everyone, but they can only keep doing their important work with the support of their communities.
C-VILLE Weekly reporter subpoenaed as witness for Unite the Right organizer
New Hampshire prosecutor demands newspaper turn over unpublished interview
Democratic National Committee sues WikiLeaks over leaked emails
California Highway Patrol seizes journalist’s press pass
President Trump threatens to loosen libel laws used against press
President Trump tries to stop the release of Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury
Physically harassed or attacked
“Help Me” Howard and PIX11 photographer attacked by bat-wielding subject
ABC News reporter punched by stranger while filming segment
Former White House aide Seb Gorka shoves reporter at CPAC
NJ reporters chased on highway by angered interview subject
10 journalists among dead after suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan
Syrian journalist killed by shrapnel en route to local hospital for a story
Palestinian photojournalist died after being shot while on assignment in Gaza
Slovak journalist murdered while working on story about Italian mafia group in Slovakia
Brazilian journalist murdered at home after receiving numerous threats on his life
Arrested or imprisoned
Jennifer is the Alliance’s reporter on trends and insights, as well as the social media manager. Prior to joining the Alliance, she spent more than a decade working in news and magazines in New York City. She is the author of the young adult textbook, “You’re Being Duped: Fake News on Social Media” (Enslow, 2019).