European Federation of Journalists

16 journalists and media staff killed in Europe in 2015

2015 has been another deadly year for journalists, with at least 109 journalists and media staff killed in targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross-fire incidents, according to the annual report published today by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

The IFJ 2015 list names the 109 journalists and media staff killed across 30 countries, together with 3 who died of accidental deaths. It marks a small drop from last year when 118 killings and 17 accidents were recorded.

In Europe, 16 journalists and media staff were killed in 2015: 11 in France, 2 in Ukraine, 1 in Azerbaijan, 1 in Poland and 1 in Turkey. This is the highest figure in the last 15 years.

French journalists paid a disproportionately high price when terrorists gunned down 10 media workers at the French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in Paris, on January 7.

Overview of the past 25 years: 346 journalists killed in Europe

Since 1990, 346 journalists and media staff have been killed in Europe. A third lost their lives in Russia, the country with the highest number of journalists murdered in Europe (115 journalists killed: 68 between 1990-2000 and 47 between 2000-2015).

Not surprisingly, journalists who exercise their profession during armed conflicts are particularly exposed. Ex-Yugoslavia countries saw the number of journalists killed in their territory dropped after the end of the war- for instance, Bosnia Herzegovina counted 39 murders for the period 1990-2000, since 2000, no journalist has been killed – while in Ukraine, the number of journalists’ killed has doubled (6 journalists killed between 1990-2000 and 13 between 2000-2015 , of which eight alone in 2014).

A significant step can be observed in Turkey where the number of journalists killed (28 between 1990-2000) went down (6 between 2000-2015). However, Turkey has the highest number of journalists in prison.

Globally, killings of journalists have declined in Europe: from 236 journalists between 1990-2000 to 110 killed between 2000-2015. “However, most of these crimes remain unpunished,” said the EFJ President, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. “We urge our governments to bring the perpetrators to justice. All international intergovernmental institution as UNESCO, EU and Council of Europe have firmly tried to find the right mechanisms to fight impunity, but until now mostly through declarations and not many concrete actions taken”.


Deadliest Countries for Journalists in Europe

Each year, the IFJ publishes a list of journalists killed while on assignment. The following statistics indicate where the most deaths occurred in Europe, from 1990 through December 31, 2015. Total: 345 deaths.

  • Russia: 115
  • Former Yugoslavia: 99 (*)
  • Turkey: 34
  • Ukraine: 19
  • France: 18
  • Georgia: 18
  • Azerbaijan: 14
  • Latvia: 5
  • Spain: 4
  • United Kingdom: 4
  • Greece: 3
  • Belarus: 2
  • Cyprus: 2
  • The Netherlands: 2
  • Romania: 2
  • Bulgaria: 1
  • Ireland: 1
  • Lithuania: 1
  • Moldova: 1
  • Poland: 1

(*) including 39 in Bosnia & Herzegovina, 5 in Croatia, 1 in Kosovo, 1 in Serbia.


List of journalists and media staff killed in Europe in 2015