Of 69 Journalists Killed in 2015, Many Were Targets of Terrorists

The Committee to Protect Journalists released its annual tally of deaths of reporters, camera operators, and others who sought to tell true stories.
Dec 29, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is TakePart's News Editor.

Terror attacks in Paris and ongoing bloodshed in Syria and other parts of the Middle East made headlines in 2015, but the journalists covering those stories were also singled out as targets for violence.

“Of 69 journalists killed for their work in 2015, 40 percent died at the hands of Islamic militant groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State,” reads a report released Tuesday from the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent nonprofit advocacy group that supports press freedom around the world.

With 13 journalists killed—mostly reporters, camera operators, and photographers—Syria was the deadliest place for news production in 2015. The conflict there spilled across borders, with the IS claiming responsibility for the deaths of two more Syrian journalists who were reporting on their homeland from Turkey.

The report says the number of deaths in Syria has dropped but attributes that, in part, to many major news organizations pulling back reporters from the field there. Of those killed in Syria in 2015, 42 percent were freelancers. By comparison, around the world, 22 percent of those killed were freelancers.

There was a sharp uptick in deaths of journalists in France, where January’s terror attacks on the offices of political satire magazine Charlie Hebdo left eight dead, and in November, a rock critic was killed at the Bataclan theater in a series of attacks that left 130 dead. The IS claimed resposibility for the latter onslaught.

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Despite the high-profile strikes, The New York Times reported Tuesday that the IS has lost as much as 40 percent of the territory it gained in Iraq last year, and the battle for Ramadi is tilting against the terror group. There, Sunni fighters have aligned with the Shiite-led government to fight off the group, bucking a sticky sectarian clash to fight terror.

More of these sorts of headlines, dealing defeat to terror groups such as IS, the Taliban, and al-Qaida, can only be welcomed by the journalists who brave targeted violence to tell these stories.