A Deadly Year For Journalists, 2018 Will End With Their Celebration (Video)

2018 will probably go down in history as one of the most, shall we say, interesting years in history.

There are too many examples to list.

But one disturbing trend bears discussion.

2018 was an extremely violent year.

It holds the worst record for school gun violence in America.

It is also the year when journalists became evidence democracy and freedom of the press are threatened in ways not seen in decades.

53 journalists were killed throughout the world this year, according to a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

According to the report:

“The number of journalists targeted for murder in reprisal for their reporting nearly doubled in 2018 from a year earlier, driving up the overall count of journalists killed on the job. Afghanistan, where extremists have stepped up deliberate attacks on journalists, was the deadliest country and accounted for much of the increase.”

From January 1 to Dec. 14, 2018, 34 journalists were killed in retaliation for their articles  and investigative reporting, nearly double those killed for the same reason last year. Nearly two-thirds were killed for covering politics.

Referring to the brutal death and dismemberment of Saudi journalist and American resident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, and Donald Trump’s defense of Saudi Arabia, the CPJ reports:

“Essentially, Trump signaled that countries that do enough business with the United States are free to murder journalists without consequence.”

Here at home, four Capital Gazette journalists and a staff member were killed in an attack in June.

In light of this, in what organizers are hailing a celebration of press freedom, CPJ will be the guest of honor at New York’s Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop celebration on Monday.

President of the Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins, said the group chose CPJ to “celebrate the free press and journalism and those who work to protect, preserve and practice it.”

He added:

“Throughout the year it’s been a big issue. Times Square itself is the ultimate agora and public space.” 

It is significant that Times Square was named after the New York Times, whose publisher, Adolf Ochs, started the “ball-drop” tradition in 1907.

Joel Simon, CPJ executive director, will join NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC anchor Lester Holt, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz, and Washington Post global opinions editor Karen Attiah.

About Donald Trump’s relentless assault on the media, Simon said:

“Unavoidably, Trump was the subtext, but not front and center. We wanted to have a unifying message.”

Image credit: Flickr

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, Liberal Nation Rising, and Medium.