As reported in the CNN article In a violent year for journalists, United States among the deadliest countries for first time, the group Reporters Without Borders has claimed that the United States is the equal fifth deadliest country in 2018.

The report cited the deaths of four journalists in a mass shooting, and two journalists who died during a storm.

In absolute terms, was the United States the equal fifth deadliest country for journalists in 2018?

  • 4
    In absolute terms? So you don't want to see any discussion of per capita numbers, correct? Just raw body count?
    – Michael W.
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 1:10
  • 3
    @MichaelW. I wanted to acknowledge the fact that the US has a large population, which means that doing absolute numbers is likely to disadvantage the US. Yes, just the raw body count.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 1:36
  • "Died in a storm" ... does that mean their idiot producer sent them out to do a live TV report in the hurricane?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 20:08
  • 3
    @GEdgar that’s my assumption, and occupational health and safety is a serious issue, but I suspect it’s going to be dishonestly ignored by some so they can paint a different narrative.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 20:42
  • 2
    Unfortunately the question is hard to answer for relative numbers. Since the US had only ~5 deaths, it would be outranked by any country with less than 60 mil. inhabitants and one death. But clearly one death is not statistically significant.
    – Chronial
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 13:03

1 Answer 1


I have found three sources, which all give fairly similar numbers. I'll present them here:

Committee to Protect Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists has an interactive map showing Journalist deaths grouped by country. The default criteria shown result in the USA being in the top 5, specifically tied with Mexico for 4th with 4 deaths. That filtering is "motive confirmed", which I don't know the precise criteria used. When expanding to include "motive unconfirmed" deaths as well, USA falls to 5th tied with India at 5 deaths.

International Federation of Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists consolidates a list of Journalist deaths annually. This year's list places the USA tied in 6th with 5 deaths, alongside Pakistan and Somalia.

Reporters Sans Frontières

Reporters Sans Frontières, or Reporters Without Borders, publishes a similar annual report, which also includes some other information about journalists such as ones which were detained rather than killed. This is the report cited by CNN, and indeed places the USA at 5th with 6 deaths, tied with India.


All three of these sources have slightly different numbers, so seem likely to have reached their conclusions through independent research and possibly slightly different criteria used for inclusion. Despite that variance, all three place USA between 4th and 6th place. Thus I would say it is very likely that CNN is using accurate data and slight disagreements about definitions are unlikely to make a large difference.


The source for this question additionally claims that this is the "first time" for the USA. I haven't checked this since the question doesn't mention it, but each of the sources I used seems to collect and publish this information each year so it should be possible to check; I haven't had the time yet.

  • 1
    For Committee to Protect Journalists, if you expand the filters to include media workers, then the US death toll increases to six, because it adds a fifth person to the mass shooting death toll. It doesn't include the deaths from the storm, but does include an independent music journalist whose death is still being investigated under "motive unconfirmed"
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 0:02
  • 1
    Since a lot of people don't read the whole question, it might improve the answer if you repeat wether these are total or relative numbers. Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 8:01
  • 2
    While based on correct numbers, the phrasing in the title is still massively misleading. "Deadliest" clearly implies relative numbers – otherwise It would be true that showering is way more deadly than basejumping.IMHO that makes the CNN statement factually incorrect.
    – Chronial
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 13:06

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