According to UNESCO, Latin America and the Caribbean recorded 40 percent of all murders recorded worldwide in 2019.
Fifty-seven journalists and media workers were killed worldwide last year, according to a new United Nations report on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
In the first nine months of this year, 39 journalists were killed, including 3 women journalists, according to the report published by UNESCO on Monday. This is the lowest death toll in the last decade.
Unprecedented global attention to high-profile cases and better mechanisms to improve journalists’ safety are possible reasons for the lower death toll this year, the report said.
It added that journalists who practice self-censorship in response to widespread threats could also be a factor.
In 2018, 99 journalists were killed worldwide, according to the report.
According to UNESCO, the most fatal attacks in 2019, with 23 kills, occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, accounting for 40 percent of all kills recorded worldwide.
With 15 murders, Asia and the Pacific recorded 26 percent of the deaths – the second highest number in the world.
The Arab region was the third deadliest with 18 percent of recorded deaths, which equates to 10 kills.
According to UNESCO, the lowest deaths were reported in Central and Eastern Europe.
In terms of countries, Mexico reported the highest deaths, with at least 12 journalists and media workers killed in the country over the past year.
In 2018, war-torn Afghanistan had the highest death toll with 16 such murders.
Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, said for too many journalists: “Telling the truth has its price”.
“If journalists are attacked with impunity, there will be a breakdown in security and justice systems for everyone,” she said.
“States have an obligation to protect journalists,” and judges and prosecutors must promote “swift and effective criminal proceedings” to ensure that perpetrators of crimes against them are held accountable, Azoulay said.