Examining Violence against Journalists in Conflict Areas

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Abstract

Due to the increasing number of journalists being killed, kidnapped, and imprisoned across the globe, the safety of journalists seems to be deteriorating. The level of violence against journalists varies over time and from area to area, even within the same country. This article analyzes the violence faced by journalists in the conflict areas of Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. The collected data were analyzed thematically using the research question themes, namely threats and challenges affecting journalists; gender-specific risk; the number of affected journalists; types of risk factors involved in conflict reporting; and the recommendations for promoting conflict reporting and peace journalism education. Semi-structured questionnaires were designed, which entailed questions that were best suited in terms of the objectives of the study. Responses from the selected respondents (80) were recorded and then data from 1992 to 2020 were statistically analyzed. In conflict areas (Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan), the highest number of deaths were recorded due to crossfire (45.8%). The findings illustrate that among three countries Iraq had the highest number of male (48.4%) and female (4.2%) journalists in terms of gender-specific risk. Further results show that military officials and political groups are the deepest risk factors causing threats to the lives of journalists. In conclusion, a journalist's geographic location, workplace environment, religion, and culture can influence their moral behavior, sense of judgment, general mindset, and psychological disposition, all of which influence journalists’ overall behavior and attitude. However, adopting safety measures by journalists does not always reduce the challenges of conflict areas.