Some 121 journalists were killed in the line of duty, including 22 in Commonwealth countries, where a deepening internal conflict in Pakistan claimed 10 lives last year.
According to the Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA), five journalists died needlessly in India, three in Bangladesh, two in Nigeria and one each in Tanzania and Uganda. Furthermore, the report said that this year the death toll for journalists was in double figures already.
“The Commonwealth Journalists Association stands united with our colleagues around the globe who work around the clock to bring us the news, despite threats of imprisonment, violence and even death,” CJA said in a statement.
“We remember their contribution, as we do for those who fell before them. Our dead and imprisoned colleagues did not go into journalism to be torchbearers for freedom, but they are no less heroes” the statement read.
Last December, the 54-member states of the Commonwealth had adopted an historic document, Charter of the Commonwealth and in assenting to this bill of core beliefs, each government committed to uphold “peaceful, open dialogue and the free flow of information, including through a free and responsible media.
“The CJA expects nothing less than unswerving attention to this proclamation. Governments must remember that a free media is a cornerstone of democratic society and must not be criminalised in the name of national security, the necessary fight against terrorism or the self-interests of individuals,” CJA said.
The CJA is a voluntary professional association offering training and moral support to journalists in Commonwealth countries where the media lacks resources, comes under pressure from governments and commercial interests or suffers threats of violence.
It operates on behalf of working journalists throughout the Commonwealth, comprising of 54 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, North and South America and the Pacific.