NEW YORK—The number of journalists killed in retaliation for their work nearly doubled this year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The New York-based organization found that at least 34 journalists were targeted and killed for their work as of Dec. 14. In all, at least 53 died while doing dangerous work. That compares with 18 retaliation killings out of 47 deaths documented by the committee in 2017.
The committee also said the imprisonment of journalists has been on the rise.
“The context for the crisis is varied and complex, and closely tied to changes in technology that have allowed more people to practice journalism even as it has made journalists expendable to the political and criminal groups who once needed the news media to spread their message,” the committee said in its annual report.
The report came a day after the media freedom group Reporters Without Borders issued its own tally, saying the U.S. was among the top five deadliest countries for journalists this year for the first time, with six dead. Four of those were journalists killed by a gunman in a June attack on the newspaper Capital Gazette in Maryland. In addition, another two journalists died while covering a storm.
The shooting, in which another newspaper employee was also killed, was the deadliest single attack on the media in recent U.S. history.
The Paris-based group documented 63 professional journalists worldwide who died in 2018.
Both organizations investigate and verify the circumstances of every journalist death before listing it in their tallies, but they differ in what circumstances they include. For instance, Reporters Without Borders included the two journalists who died covering the storm. The committee, in addition to retaliation killings, lists journalists who have died in combat, crossfire or on other dangerous assignments.
The Committee to Protect Journalists report includes the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a native of Saudi Arabia fiercely critical of its royal regime. His Oct. 2 death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has reverberated on the global political scene amid allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved.
Khashoggi lived in self-imposed exile in the United States,