War in the Middle East. The evolution of the conflict between Israel and Hamas

In 2023, 45 journalists died in the line of duty, compared to 61 last year, according to an annual report by non-governmental organization (NGO) RSF.

You only have to go back more than two decades to this year – 33 in 2002 – and more than a third of these losses are linked to conflict in the Middle East, including 13 in Gaza alone.

“This does not reduce the drama of Gaza in any way, but there is a steady decline, far from the more than 140 journalists killed in 2012 and 2013”, mainly as a result of the wars in Syria and Iraq, he explained to Agence France-Presse (AFP) RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloitte.

The organization listed a total of “63 journalists killed” in the Middle East since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, regardless of whether they were related to the profession or not.

In addition to the 13 journalists killed by “Israeli gunfire” in Gaza, three journalists working in Lebanon and another in Israel were killed by the Islamist movement Hamas in the war, the NGO added.

In November, RSF filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court for “war crimes” against journalists in Gaza and an Israeli journalist.

A blast in southern Lebanon on October 13 killed Reuters news agency video journalist Issam Abdullah and wounded six others, including AFP photographer Christina Assi, who was seriously injured.

An Israeli military spokesman insisted the journalists were in an “active war zone”.

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These explanations are not satisfactory, noted Christophe Deloire, who assessed that “there is a lot of evidence that Israel accepts its responsibilities”.

Conflict in Ukraine killed two journalists in 2023, including AFP reporter Arman Soldin, “the only journalist killed in a country other than his own” this year, bringing the total to 11 since the Russian invasion in February 2022.

While 26 journalists were killed in 2022, the 2023 global balance stands out for the “significant decrease” in deaths in Latin America.

Mexico, the most dangerous region to work in after Gaza, recorded four journalists killed in 2023, compared to 11 the previous year.

But, the report noted, “this does not mean that security for the press is improving, as evidenced by three kidnappings of reporters and four armed attacks against journalists in late 2023.”

The number of journalists detained worldwide increased by 521, to 569 in 2022, with Belarus becoming “one of the world’s three largest prisons, along with China and Myanmar,” the document said.

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