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Tragic Toll: 99 Journalists Killed, 72 in Israel-Hamas War

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The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) announced on Thursday that the last 12 months have been the deadliest for the media in nearly a decade, with 72 of the 99 journalists killed in 2023 dying in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

According to the CPJ, if not for the killings in Gaza, Israel, and Lebanon, the number of reporter killings would have decreased annually worldwide, while deaths in Somalia and the Philippines remained constant.

The number of deaths is up nearly 44% from 2022 and at its highest point since 2015.

“In December 2023, CPJ reported that more journalists were killed in the first three months of the Israel-Gaza war than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year,” the CPJ said.

The 72 journalists killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict also include three Lebanese and two Israeli victims, the organization said.

“Journalists in Gaza are bearing witness on the frontlines,” said CPJ chief executive Jodie Ginsberg.

“The immense loss suffered by Palestinian journalists in this war will have long-term impacts for journalism not just in the Palestinian territories but for the region and beyond. Every journalist killed is a further blow to our understanding of the world.”

On February 7, the New York-based press freedom organization said the number of journalists killed in the Gaza conflict had risen to 85.

CPJ has previously attacked what it calls “persecution” of journalists by Israeli forces, and is investigating whether a dozen journalists killed in the Gaza conflict were deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers, which would constitute “a war crime.”

Israel vowed to crush Hamas in response to the Islamist group’s October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Operatives also took around 250 people hostage, in the deadliest-ever attack in the country, and around 130 of them are believed to remain in Gaza, including 29 who are believed to be dead.

The health ministry in the Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas reports that Israel’s military offensive on Gaza has resulted in the deaths of at least 28,576 people, the majority of them women and children.

Journalist deaths decreased by the greatest amounts in Mexico and Ukraine, where there were two deaths compared to 13 in each country.

Arman Soldin, an AFP journalist, was among those slain in Ukraine. The 32-year-old Soldin perished when his reporting team was ambushed in the vicinity of Bakhmut, in the east.

The CPJ warned that Mexico, along with the Philippines and Somalia, was “one of the world’s deadliest countries for the press.”

“Compounding the situation, government agencies spy on reporters and rights defenders, and a significant number of journalists have had to leave their homes, and abandon their professions, due to violence,” the CPJ report warned.

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