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Iraq: Journalists in Danger

A statistical profile of media deaths and abductions in Iraq 2003-09

CPJ compiled a detailed statistical profile of journalists and media workers killed on duty in Iraq, from the beginning of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 through October 2009. This analysis also includes data and capsules reports on journalists abducted from March 2003 through October 2009, and CPJ reports and background briefings.

CPJ regularly updated this analysis during the first six years of the war. CPJ concluded its regular updates in October 2009, as media deaths and abductions subsided.

Media workers killed
Abductions
Background reports

Below are data regarding journalist deaths. Capsule reports detailing each death are available in CPJ’s database of killed journalists. Data on abductions and media worker deaths, along with background reports, are available by following the links at left. 

CPJ considers a journalist to be killed on duty if the person died as a result of a hostile action--such as reprisal for his or her work, or crossfire while carrying out a dangerous assignment. CPJ does not include journalists killed in accidents, such as car or plane crashes, unless the crash was caused by aggressive human action (for example, if a plane were shot down or a car crashed trying to avoid gunfire). Nor does CPJ include journalists who died of health ailments. 

By Year:
• 2009: 4
• 2008: 11
• 2007: 32
• 2006: 32
• 2005: 23
• 2004: 24
• 2003: 14

By Nationality:
• Iraqi: 117
• European: 13
• Other Arab countries: 3
• United States: 2
• All other countries: 5
Note: One journalist had dual Iraqi-Swedish citizenship and is listed in each nationality.

By Gender:
• Men: 128
• Women: 11 

By Circumstance:
• Murder: 89
• Crossfire or other acts of war: 50

Responsibility:
Insurgent/other armed group action: 105 (Includes crossfire, suicide bombings, and murders.) 
• U.S. fire: 16 (CPJ has not found evidence to conclude that U.S. troops targeted journalists in these cases. While the cases are classified as crossfire, CPJ continues to investigate.)
• Iraqi armed forces, during U.S. invasion: 3 (All are crossfire or acts of war.)
• Iraqi armed forces, post-U.S. invasion: 1 (Crossfire)
• Source unconfirmed: 14

By Job:
• Photojournalists: 36 (Includes still photographers and camera operators.)
• Reporters and editors: 85
• Producers: 9
• Technicians: 7 

By Location:
• Anbar province (Fallujah, Ramadi): 10
• Nineveh province (Mosul): 24
• Baghdad province: 75
• Maysan province: 1
• Saleheddin province (Samara): 5 
• Basrah province: 4
• Diyala province (Baqubah): 6
• Arbil province: 6
• Karbala province: 1
• Najaf province: 1
• Sulaymaniyah province: 1
• At-Tamim province (Kirkuk): 4
• Unclear: 1

By embedded status:
• Embedded: 7
• Non-Embedded or "unilateral": 132

Type of news organization:
• Working for international news organization: 49
• Working for Iraqi news organization: 90

Highest death tolls among news organization:
• Iraq Media Network (includes Al-Iraqiya, its affiliates, and Sabah newspaper): 14
• Baghdad TV: 7
• Al-Arabiya: 6
• Al-Shaabiya: 5
• Reuters: 5
• Kurdistan TV: 4
• Al-Baghdadia 2


HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Founded in 1981, CPJ has kept detailed data on journalists killed on duty as part of its mission of defending press freedom worldwide. Here is a tally of several major conflicts, as compiled by CPJ staff.

Journalists killed in conflicts:

    • 
Algeria (1993-96): 58 
    • Colombia (1986-present): 54
    • Balkans (1991-95): 36 
    • Philippines (1983-87): 36 
    • Turkey (1984-99): 22
    • Tajikistan (1992-96): 16
    • Sierra Leone (1997-2000): 15 
    • Afghanistan (2001-04): 9 
    • Somalia (1993-95): 9 
    • Kosovo (1999-2001): 7
    • First Iraq war (1991): 4 (All were killed after the official end of the war but died in the conflict in the immediate aftermath.)

Deadliest year in these wars: 1995 in Algeria, when 24 journalists were killed.


EARLIER CONFLICTS

CPJ does not have statistics on wars prior to 1981, but other groups have compiled lists of journalists killed. Please note that groups use different criteria in classifying deaths. For example, a group might categorize a death in a plane crash as being killed on duty. Here is a selection of some of the major conflicts.

    • Central American conflicts:
 Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, lists 89 journalists killed for the years 1979-89.
    • Argentina: Freedom Forum lists 98 for the years 1976-1983.
    • Vietnam: Freedom Forum lists 66 journalists killed covering the conflict in Vietnam from 1955-1975. The Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, which surveyed the years 1962-75, lists 71 journalists killed.
    • Korean War: Freedom Forum lists 17 journalists killed.
    • World War II: Freedom Forum lists 68.
    • World War I: Freedom Forum lists 2.

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