May 23, 2024

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More than 70% of journalists cover the environment affected by threats

More than 70% of journalists cover the environment affected by threats

(Santiago de Chile) UNESCO has warned that more than 70% of journalists from 129 countries covering environmental issues indicated that they were victims of threats, pressure or attacks.


In its new report, “The Press and the Planet at Risk,” UNESCO conducted a survey of 905 journalists in March, and more than 70% of them reported being the target of “attacks, threats or pressure” regarding their investigations. on environmental issues.

Of those, two-fifths say they have been victims of physical violence.

85% of journalists involved said they had been threatened or psychologically pressured, 60% had experienced online harassment, 41% had experienced physical attacks, and 24% had been legally assaulted.

Nearly half (45%) say they censor themselves because they fear reprisals, expose their sources, or know that their articles conflict with the interests of relevant stakeholders.

Reports also suggest that female journalists are more likely to be victims of online harassment than male journalists.

44 massacres in 15 years

As part of the publication of this inquiry, UNESCO revealed that at least 749 journalists and media outlets covering environmental issues were “targets of murder, physical violence, detention and arrest, online harassment or legal attacks” during the period 2009-2023.

Cases have increased by 42% between 2019 and 2023 compared to the previous period (2014-2018).

UNESCO recalls that at least 44 journalists covering environmental issues have been killed in 15 countries since 2009, including 30 in Asia-Pacific and 11 in Latin America or the Caribbean.

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Some 24 assassination attempts have survived and only five assassinations have led to convictions, a “shocking impunity rate of almost 90%,” UNESCO underlines.

Environmental journalists face increasing risks because their work “often intersects with more lucrative economic activities such as illegal logging, poaching or illegal waste dumping,” notes UNESCO.

The United Nations agency calls for more support for journalists specializing in environmental issues, because “without reliable scientific information on the current environmental crisis, it will never be overcome,” pointed out UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay. Report. “Climate-related misinformation is ubiquitous on social networks,” he asserts.

The study, revealed at the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference in Santiago, Chile, highlights that the problem is global, with attacks occurring in 89 countries across all regions of the world.