Attacks against climate journalists are increasing

05 May, 2024

An increasing number of journalists and media outlets covering climate change are subjected to various forms of physical, verbal threats, harassment, and attacks.

This is shown by new statistics from the UN agency Unesco.

People service promoted by inter-religious organizations in honor of British journalist Dom Phillips and the Indegenous expert Bruno Pereira killed in the Amazon region, at the Cathedral in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 16, 2022. Photo Marcelo Chello/APTT

Reporting on climate change and environmental issues has become significantly more uncertain according to Unesco, which has compiled the statistics in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), based on responses from over 900 journalists in 129 countries.

Over 70 percent of those surveyed reported that they had been subjected to attacks, threats, or pressure. Of those, 60 percent had experienced online harassment and 41 percent physical attacks. Since 2009 and up until last year, at least 749 journalists, groups of journalists, and news media reporting on environmental issues have been attacked. 44 have been murdered in the past 15 years.

At least 24 journalists have survived murder attempts. The number of murders during the years 2019-2023 was one-third higher than the previous five years.

Approximately half of the attacks have been carried out by state actors such as police, military forces, or government representatives, and just over a quarter by private actors – these include companies in the extraction industry, criminal groups, protesters, and local communities, according to Unesco.

Unesco has not been able to determine who was behind the remaining attacks.

Text: TT/News agency
Photo: Marcelo Chello/AP/TT

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