Knowing the Truth is Protecting the Truth
The Report is a unique mechanism within the UN system for monitoring the killings of journalists. It was first published in 2008, upon a Decision of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). The Report is published every two years, making an occasion for Member States to take stock of global developments and discuss challenges linked to promoting the safety of journalists and combatting impunity.
The full report will be presented on November 24 and 25, 2022 before the Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication of UNESCO, at its 33rd Session.
Impunity for crimes has continuously decreased
Though it remains unacceptably high, impunity for crimes committed against journalists has continuously decreased, by a total of 3% since 2018, the first year of the previous biennial. In 2022, the global impunity rate was measured by UNESCO at 86% compared to 89% in 2018. UNESCO, therefore, continues to observe an upward trend of resolved cases worldwide from 11% in 2018 to 14% in 2022.
The majority of journalists were killed outside of workspaces
The data shows that there are no safe spaces for journalists. Of the 117 journalists killed in 2020-2021, 78%, or 91 journalists, were killed while away from their offices.
Most killings occurred outside their newsrooms. Some journalists were murdered in the street or in their vehicles, and some were kidnapped to then be found dead. Several were killed in front of family members, including their children.
An increase in women journalists killed
In 2021, the percentage of women among all journalists killed almost doubled, rising to 11% from 6% the previous year. Available data as of 30 September 2022 shows that again 11% of killings so far have been women journalists.
Journalists now less safe in non-conflict countries
This Director-General's Report confirms the continuation of a long-term trend, since 2016, whereby journalists have become less safe in countries not experiencing armed conflict than they are in conflict countries.
Journalists increasingly killed while covering protests
In the 2020-2021 period, 6 journalists were killed while covering protests, riots or demonstrations. This confirms the trend identified in the previous Director-General's Report which noted a rise in the number of journalists killed in such contexts. In the 2016-2017 period, the figure for this category of killing was 3 journalists.
More Key Findings
These two years saw the lowest number of deaths of any reporting period since the first publication of this report in 2008. The year 2021 shows the lowest annual death toll in 14 years with 55 killings.
In 2020 and 2021, Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 38% of killings, followed by Asia and the Pacific with 32% of killings.
16 States reported on actions taken to ensure the security of women journalists, compared to 13 in the previous reporting period.