The U.S. is at number five (tied with India) on the list of most dangerous countries for media, with six recorded fatalities.
It is also the only fully developed country among the top 5, behind Afghanistan (which logged 15 deaths), Syria (11) and Yemen (eight). Mexico, currently in the grips of drug cartel violence had nine.
“The world’s five deadliest countries for journalists include three – India, Mexico, and for the first time the United States where journalists were killed in cold blood although these countries were not at war or in conflict,” the report noted.
The U.S. — which normally does not rank among the leaders of the list — found itself there this year after a shooting Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper left four journalists dead in June. Two other reporters from North Carolina were killed by a falling tree in May. (A fifth non-journalist was also killed at the Gazette, which was not included in the RSF count.)
The report also noted how for the first time Iraq had not reported a single journalist death since the U.S. invasion in 2003. In past years — in the grips of ISIS and Al-Qaeda bombings — the country had been one of the most dangerous reporting zones in the word.
“The hatred of journalists that is voiced … by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement.
The Capital Gazette newsroom was recently honored by Time Magazine in their “Person of the Year” issue along with other journalists who they said were fighting against “the war on truth.” Though the shooting was prompted by a single disgruntled man who had spent years harassing the paper, many have warned that President Trump’s ferocious anti-press rhetoric has created a more dangerous climate for reporting in the U.S.
In the last three months along, CNN’s New York headquarters had to be evacuated after bomb scares — one of which turned out to be real.