SANAD’s Statistics: 58 journalists were killed, including 30 by DA’ESH
Journalists Faced 3.863 Violations in the Arab World in 2015
- 70% of journalists intentionally killed were shot to death by DA’ESH in public.
- 69 journalists were kidnapped, including 44 journalists in Yemen by the Houthi faction and 20 by DA’ESH, while three journalists faced assassination attempts and four others faced kidnapping attempts.
- Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, and Somalia are the most life-threatening countries for journalists.
- 43% of total violations were grave crimes. None of the perpetrators were subject to investigation, punishment, or accountability.
- The Israeli occupation forces committed the highest number of violations, against Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza, registering 26% of total violations. This was followed by Egypt with 17% of all violations, Iraq with 11.4%, Yemen with 8.4%, Palestine with 7.7%, Tunisia with 7.3%, and Sudan with 6.6%.
- 399 journalists were subjected to physical assault, while 275 journalists were wounded in the field.
- 89 journalists suffered torture/degrading treatment due to their journalistic work and 38 journalists faced imprisonment or arrest, while 25 journalists faced death threats.
During 2015, 58 journalists lost their lives while practicing their profession, of whom 43 were intentionally killed; 15 others were killed while covering conflict areas.
It is noteworthy that 70% of the journalists who were intentionally killed were shot by DA’ISH in public spectacles after being kidnapped and put on show trials in front of the local population in public squares. DA’ISH executed 30 journalists, including 29 in Iraq, in addition to the execution of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto in Syria, whose execution was broadcast on YouTube.
A total of 69 journalists were kidnapped, including 44 in Yemen by the Houthi faction and four others in Syria by different armed groups. In the Gaza Strip, one journalist was kidnapped by unidentified individuals and later released. Meanwhile, three journalists faced assassination attempts and four others faced kidnapping attempts.
This year’s State of Media Freedoms report shows that 2015 saw a rise in the number of journalists killed or kidnapped, and also saw a notable rise in the incidence of grave violations and assaults. This year marks the fourth annual report by SANAD, which is managed by the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ), monitoring and documenting violations and assaults targeting journalists due to their practice of their profession.
This Executive Summary presents the most prominent initial findings and indicators prepared by the team of researchers and monitors.
A total of 34 types and patterns of violations committed against journalists have been monitored and recorded. The 2015 report also documents 3,863 violations, a concrete increase from 2014, during which SANAD documented 3,277 violations.
SANAD’s violations monitoring and documentation team was able to monitor and document violations in 19 Arab countries, namely Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Palestine (inclusive of the Israeli occupation forces’ violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip), Mauritania, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Yemen, and Egypt. SANAD’s researchers and monitors were not able to collect information from the other Arab countries due to the difficulty of carrying out such tasks. Consequently, there was not enough information about Djibouti, Comoros Islands, and Oman.
The report indicates that the rate of grave violations of a criminal nature continued to be markedly high in 2015, as in 2014, in view of the continuing state of instability and conflict in several countries in the Arab world. It records 1,658 grave and criminal violations, constituting 43% of the total number of violations.
SANAD’s researchers could not find any case in which perpetrators were subject to investigation, punishment, or accountability for the violation of journalists’ human rights due to the practice of their profession.
In a total of 1,084 separate incidents which SANAD’s researchers were able to monitor and document, 2,410 journalists suffered violations and assaults, and 222 media institutions suffered raids or attacks on their offices or headquarters.
The report indicates that Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, and Somalia are the most life-threatening countries for journalists, due especially to DA’ISH’s presence over vast areas of Iraq and Syria, as well as the Houthi faction’s attempts to control media outlets in Yemen.
The report concludes that DA’ISH and the Houthi faction are among the most aggressive groups threatening journalists’ work and lives.
DA’ISH has intentionally killed 27 journalists in Iraq after kidnapping them, especially in the city of Mosul. Two other journalists lost their lives to DA’ISH sniper fire while on the job. DA’ISH also killed the Japanese journalist Kenji Goto in Syria.
The report records that 15 journalists lost their lives while covering armed conflicts, including three journalists in Iraq, seven in Syria, and five in Yemen. In addition, 69 journalists were kidnapped, including 44 in Yemen kidnapped by Houthi group. SANAD researchers have verified that 11 of them have been released, but there is no information available about the fate of the 33 others. DA’ISH kidnapped 20 journalists in Iraq and then executed them.
Statistics presented in the report, which SANAD will publish in full for the fourth consecutive year, indicate that the security forces in the Arab countries committed 40.5% of the total number of violations, topping the list of violating parties. They were followed by the Israeli occupation forces, which committed 16% of the total violations through abuses against Palestinian journalists.
The statistics show that violations committed by the Houthi group in Yemen ranked third, comprising 9.3% of the total number. In fourth place were violations committed by unidentified persons or parties, amounting to 5.5%.
SANAD’s statistics show that violations committed by DA’ISH ranked fifth, making up 5.3% of the total, followed by violations committed by officials and influential individuals in various Arab countries, ranking sixth at 4.7%. Violations committed by regular citizens ranked seventh, making up 4.2% of the total.
As for the order of regions and countries in terms of number of violations, the West Bank and Gaza Strip ranked first due to violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian journalists, with a total of 1,007 violations or 26% of the total.
Egypt ranked second, with a total of 650 violations, or 17% of all regional violations. Iraq ranked third, with 440 violations, or 11.4%, followed by Yemen in the fourth rank with 322 violations or 8.4%. Palestine, comprising domestic violations committed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ranked fifth with 296 violations or 7.7%. It was followed by Tunisia in fifth rank with 282 violations or 7.3%.
Sudan came in sixth, with 255 violations or 6.6%, followed by Morocco in seventh place with 165 violations or 4.3%.
Violations committed in Syria ranked in tenth place, with 103 violations or 2.7%, followed by Lebanon in eleventh place with 95 violations.
Jordan ranked twelfth with 73 violations, followed by Algeria in thirteenth place with 35 violations, then Somalia in fourteenth place with 35 violations, Libya in fifteenth with 30 violations, Saudi Arabia in sixteenth with 24 violations, Mauritania in seventeenth with 23 violations, Bahrain in eighteenth with 15 violations, Qatar in nineteenth with 13 violations, the United Arab Emirates in twentieth with five violations, and finally Kuwait in twenty-first place with only two violations.
Also included are statistics on violation of rights stated under international law. Assault on the right to freedom of opinion and expression ranked first, with 1,398 violations recorded, or 36.2% of the total number of violations.
Assault on the right to personal safety ranked second, with 1,196 violations, or 31% of the total. This was followed by assault on property-related rights in third, with 478 violations, or 12.4%. Assault on the right to freedom and personal safety ranked fourth, with 443 violations, or 11.5%.
The report records 104 cases of unfair trial, falling under violation of legal rights and ranking fifth, followed by violation of the right not to be subjected to torture or other forms of harsh, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, ranking sixth and registering 89 violations. Attacks on the right to life, the highest of human rights, ranked seventh, with 61 violations.
Violations of the right to freedom of movement and residence ranked eighth, with 48 violations, followed by attacks on the right to privacy in ninth place, with 24 violations registered. Finally, in tenth, was violation of the right to nondiscriminatory treatment, registering 22 violations.
Also in 2015, SANAD’s researchers documented 879 violations related to banning of coverage and blocking of information, as well as 674 physical attacks causing injuries to journalists working in the field.
193 journalists and media institutions suffered financial and property damages and losses in violation of their right to ownership.
304 cases of incarceration and arbitrary arrest were recorded – an unprecedented number, according to SANAD’s statistics.
The report also finds that 337 journalists were subjected to verbal abuses, including libel, slander, and threat to cause harm in retaliation for their journalistic work. 156 journalists were intentionally targeted by violence while undertaking their work in the field.
SANAD’s statistics also highlight the frequency of intentional damage and confiscation of the tools of the trade, with 152 incidents recorded in 2015.
104 journalists were subjected to unfair trial, particularly in Egypt. 97 journalists were harassed on the job, and, more seriously, 89 journalists suffered torture and/or degrading treatment.
A total of 88 journalists were subject to security investigations as a result of their reporting. Pre- and post-publication censorship was reported 74 times, and 60 journalists had equipment confiscated.
Seizure of newspapers after printing was noted 59 times, especially in Sudan. 56 media institutions were attacked, including several attacks and bombings in Yemen.
A total of 52 journalists had content deleted from their cameras while on the job, and 48 journalists were banned from travel or residency by the Israeli occupation forces in Occupied Palestine. 44 media items and publications were barred from publication and distribution, while 38 journalists were imprisoned or detained.
A total of 28 websites were blocked, mostly in Yemen, while 28 satellite television and radio channels were jammed and/or banned from broadcasting, a high proportion considering the nature of violation.
A total of 25 journalists faced death threats as a result of their journalistic work, while the homes of 24 journalists were attacked in violation of the sanctity of private places.
The statistics also show that 22 journalists and media institutions faced discrimination on the basis of gender, opinion, or ideology.
Moreover, 21 journalists were banned from work and/or denied work permits. The official documents of 19 journalists were confiscated, while 17 suffered attacks on their private property.
The families of nine journalists were harmed. Seven journalists were harassed and four others faced failed kidnapping attempts.
SANAD’s researchers documented the denial of access to food, water, and medical treatment to four journalists kidnapped or in detention.