Attacks on Environmental Journalists Growing Worldwide, UN Report Finds

Sudipta Chakraborty / UNESCO

A new U.N. report warns that environmental journalists across the globe are facing growing violence and intimidation.

“Without reliable scientific information about the ongoing environmental crisis, we can never hope to overcome it,” said Audrey Azoulay, head of UNESCO, the U.N. agency behind the report. “And yet the journalists we rely on to investigate this subject and ensure information is accessible face unacceptably high risks all over the world, and climate-related disinformation is running rampant on social media.”

Environmental journalists have been subject to attacks including assaults, harassment, arrests, criminal prosecutions, and defamation lawsuits. The report tallied 749 attacks globally over the last 15 years, with attacks growing more frequent over time. It further counted 44 murders of environmental journalists, of which only five resulted in convictions.

In a related survey of more than 900 environmental journalists worldwide, 70 percent reported being attacked, threatened, or pressured in relation to their reporting. “State and private actors, as well as criminal groups, have been known to intimidate, harass, or even physically harm journalists in an effort to silence their reporting,” the report said. “The global scale of these threats underscores the widespread and serious nature of the challenges faced by environmental journalists.”


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