The price of a free press: 99 journalists were killed in 2023

What price a few press?

The search for the truth can come at a horrific cost to journalists, which comes into sharp focus on World Press Freedom Day on Friday. Last year saw 99 killings of reporters, up 44% on 2022 and the highest toll since 2015. The high toll was almost entirely due to Gaza, where a Guardian editorial noted, “no war has killed so many journalists so quickly.”

The vast majority are Palestinian reporters who, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, appear to have been targeted by Israeli forces.

Reporting on the war against nature may generate fewer headlines than Gaza or Ukraine, but it is also high-risk with little legal protection.

The number of environmental journalists being attacked or killed is rising and it continues to be one of the most dangerous fields of journalism after war reporting.

In Romania, two journalists and an environmental activist who were filming a documentary about illegal logging in northern Romania were beaten unconscious and one was stripped in 2021.

The three were attacked by about 20 people in a forest in northern Romania while rhey were filming.

Though the trend is accelerating, prosecutions remain dismally low worldwide, with very few cases of murdered environmental reporters leading to convictions.

Instead, the law appears to be increasingly used against journalists in Europe and elsewhere. One of the most disturbing trends in recent years has been the arrests or police harassment of journalists covering environmental protests.

This has stirred outrage in the UK, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Canada, Australia, Azerbaijan, the United States and China which is consistently the biggest jailer of reporters.

Romania ranks 53rd in the world press freedom index,  and in the ‘problematic’ range. It has a diverse and pluralistic media landscape „providing fertile ground for hard-hitting public interest investigations.” But this is overshadowed by a lack of transparency of media financing, especially from public funds which has undermined the reliability of information and the trust in the media.


Romanian journalists, environmental activist beaten, stripped while filming a documentary on illegal logging

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