Iraq most dangerous place for journalists

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Media: Reuters
Byline: Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
Date: 20 Sept 2006


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Journalists are being killed at a pace of more than
three a month worldwide, with Iraq the deadliest place for media to work,
the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Wednesday.

A new CPJ study showed that 580 journalists have been killed over the last
15 years primarily because of their work, with government and military
officials believed to be responsible for many of those deaths.

The deadliest countries for journalists over the past 15 years have been
Iraq, which tallied 78 deaths, Algeria with 60 killed, Russia with 42 dead
and Colombia with 37 dead, according to CPJ, a New York-based non-profit
organization that promotes press freedom.

So far in 2006, 31 journalists have been killed -- a rate of better than
three a month through mid-September -- with 20 of those deaths occurring in
Iraq, CPJ said on its Web site.

In 2005, there were 47 confirmed deaths, 22 of which were Iraqi journalists
covering the current war. According to the CPJ, 60 Iraqi journalists have
been killed since the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003.

"Journalism has become quite a dangerous profession," CPJ Executive Director
Joel Simon said in an interview.

"There has been greater awareness of how dangerous it is, especially with
the Iraq war. Iraqi journalists have become increasingly vulnerable," he

About 85 percent of deaths recorded since 1992, the first year CPJ began
keeping records, involved local journalists as opposed to foreign

CPJ's data also revealed that the seven out of 10 of those deaths were of
journalists specifically targeted because their reporting was critical of
the government.

"Time and again, the very governments that journalists sought to check with
their reporting are believed to be behind the slayings," the report said.

Government and military officials were believed to be responsible for some
27 percent of journalist murders over the past 15 years, CPJ's analysis

Paramilitary groups, aligned with government security forces in nations such
as Colombia and Rwanda, meanwhile, were suspected to be behind 8 percent of
the killings.

The death of Norbert Zongo, editor of the weekly L'Independent in
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in December 1998 was a case in point. Gunmen
sprayed automatic rifle fire at a vehicle carrying Zongo, his brother and
two companions, the report said.

Many in Burkina Faso believe officials in President Blaise Compaore's
government were responsible for Zongo's death, who had investigated
relentlessly on alleged torture and murder.

CPJ's findings also showed that print reporters faced greater danger than
most other media jobs, making up nearly 60 percent of recorded deaths.
However, in countries that are reliant on broadcast news such as the
Philippines and India, radio commentators and television journalists were
most vulnerable.