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One killed every week: RSF raises alarm over 'utterly deplorable' journalist murders Open in fullscreen

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One killed every week: RSF raises alarm over 'utterly deplorable' journalist murders

Reporters gather outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi may have been killed [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 October, 2018

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With reports of two violent murders of journalists in the past week, 2018 is set to be the most dangerous year on record for reporters around the globe
One journalist is killed every week around the world, on average, according to chilling figures compiled by the press freedom watchdog Reporters without Borders (RSF).

As horrifying reports emerge of the brutal rape and murder of Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova, whose body was discovered in a park on Sunday, it looks increasingly likely that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was also killed in the past week.

Bulgarian police insist that Marinova's murder does not appear to be linked to her work. However, suspicious observers have drawn attention to the fact that the investigative journalist's last report uncovered a government corruption scandal.

Khashoggi, too, fled his home country for the US after fears his criticism of the Saudi regime might have severe consequences.

Despite having previously served as an adviser to the Saudi government, Khashoggi had denounced the "fear, intimidation, arrests and public shaming" under the rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Several reports have alleegd the Washington Post columnist was killed and his body dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, removed in diplomatic boxes, all by a special team of "officials" sent from Riyadh.

The Saudi authorities have dismissed the reports as "baseless", but Khashoggi has still not been seen after entering the consulate on Tuesday.

Other high-profile assassinations of the past year have included Malta's anti-corruption blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, who died in a car bombing outside her home in October 2017, as well as renowned Slovak reporter Jan Kuciak who was shot dead with his fiancee at their home in February.

"If Turkish reports that @washingtonpost journalist and US resident @jamalkhashoggi was killed in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Turkey are confirmed, this would constitute a horrific, utterly deplorable, and absolutely unacceptable assault on press freedom," RSF tweeted on Saturday.

According to the group, 56 journalists have been killed so far in 2018, putting it on track to become one of the deadliest years for reporters since records began.

RSF's UK Director Rebecca Vincent tweeted she was "utterly horrified" by the reports of the past week, and called for the safety of journalists to be given urgent international priority.

"The violence shows no signs of abating. Why do our calls continue to fall on deaf ears?"



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