Fifty-six journalists were killed in 2019 and most of them died outside conflict zones, a UN spokesperson said.
The number dropped by nearly half from the year 2018, but perpetrators enjoyed almost total impunity, Xinhua news agency quoted Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as saying on Monday citing Unesco figures.
The figure was published in the ‘Unesco Observatory of Killed Journalists’ on Monday.
In total, Unesco recorded 894 journalist killings in the decade from 2010 to 2019, an average of almost 90 per year. The number in 2019 was 99.
Journalists were murdered in all regions of the world, with Latin America and the Caribbean recording 22 killings, the highest number, followed by 15 in Asia-Pacific, and 10 in Arab States.
“The figures show that journalists not only suffer extreme risks when covering violent conflict, but that they are also targeted when reporting on local politics, corruption and crime – often in their hometowns,” the Unesco said.
Almost two thirds (61 per cent) of the cases in 2019 occurred in countries not experiencing armed conflict, a notable spike in a wider trend in recent years, and a reversal of the situation of 2014, when this figure was one third.
More than 90 per cent of cases recorded in 2019 concerned local journalists, consistent with previous years, it added.
In response to these figures, Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of Unesco, said: “Unesco remains deeply troubled by the hostility and violence directed at all too many journalists around the world.
“As long as this situation lasts, it will undermine democratic debate.”