New York, January 2, 2004—A total of 36 journalists were killed worldwide as a direct result of their work in 2003, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). This is a sharp increase from 2002, when 19 journalists were killed. The war in Iraq was the primary reason for the increase, as 13 journalists, more than a third of this year’s casualties, were killed in hostile actions.
In fact, according to CPJ’s statistics, the death toll in Iraq was the highest annual total from a single country since 24 journalists were killed in Algeria in 1995 at the height of civil strife between the government and Islamist militants.
“The war that began in March posed many hazards for journalists, but seasoned war correspondents tell us that even in the post-war period Iraq remains the most dangerous assignment they have ever had,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. Among the risks they face are banditry, shootings, and bomb attacks that make Iraq risky for everyone—local residents, as well as foreigners.
“On top of those risks, it has been particularly troubling to see at least four journalists killed as a result of U.S. military actions in Iraq, and CPJ continues to demand a full public accounting from the Pentagon for these incidents,” added Cooper.
In addition to the 13 journalists killed by hostile acts in Iraq this year, another six died from illness or traffic accidents while covering the war, bringing the death toll there to 19.
In the Middle East’s other major conflict, two journalists were killed by Israeli army gunfire in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, bringing to six the number of journalists killed since the Palestinian Intifada began in 2000.
War and other conflicts were not the greatest threats to journalists in much of the rest of the world, however. Nearly all the journalists killed outside Iraq were deliberately targeted, often in direct reprisal for their critical reporting. Confirming a long-term trend documented by CPJ, those who carried out or ordered the killings did so with impunity.
In the Philippines, five journalists were killed for covering local corruption or criticizing public officials. In Colombia, three journalists were murdered because of their work and one was killed in crossfire. And in Russia, the editor-in-chief of an independent publication known for its reporting on organized crime, government corruption, and dubious corporate deals was stabbed to death outside his home. He was the newspaper’s second editor-in-chief to be murdered in 18 months.
CPJ researchers apply stringent guidelines and journalistic standards to determine whether journalists were killed on assignment or as a direct result of their professional work. By publicizing and protesting these killings, CPJ works to help change the conditions that foster violence against journalists. The death toll that CPJ compiles each year is one of the most widely cited measures of press freedom worldwide.
In addition to the 2003 cases described in this report, CPJ continues to investigate four journalists who are missing and 12 whose killings may have been related to their professional work.
CPJ also maintains a list of journalists killed over the last decade, along with relevant statistics.
Below is a list of journalists killed for their work in 2003. For details on each case, including the 12 deaths that CPJ continues to investigate, see the full list.
- BRAZIL: 2
- Nicanor Linhares Batista, Rádio Vale do Jaguaribe, June 30, 2003, Limoeiro do Norte
- Luiz Antônio da Costa, Época, July 23, 2003, São Bernardo do Campo
- Chou Chetharith, Ta Prum, October 18, 2003, Phnom Penh
- Luis Eduardo Alfonso Parada, Radio Meridiano-70, March 18, 2003, Arauca
- Guillermo Bravo Vega, Alpevisión Radio, April 28, 2003, Neiva
- Jaime Rengifo Revero, Olímpica Radio, April 29, 2003, Maicao
- Juan Carlos Benavides Arévalo, Manantial Estéreo, August 22, 2003, Puerto Caicedo
- Héctor Ramírez, Noti7 and Radio Sonora, July 24, 2003, Guatemala City
- Parvaz Mohammed Sultan, News and Feature Alliance, January 31, 2003, Srinagar
- Ersa Siregar, Rajawali Citra Televisi, December 29, 2003, Aceh
- Zahra Kazemi, freelance, July 10, 2003, Tehran
- Terry Lloyd, ITV News, March 22, 2003, near Al-Zubayr
- Paul Moran, freelance, March 22, 2003, Gerdigo
- Kaveh Golestan, freelance, April 2, 2003, Kifri
- Michael Kelly, Atlantic Monthly, Washington Post, April 3, 2003, outside of Baghdad
- Christian Liebig, Focus, April 7, 2003, outside Baghdad
- Julio Anguita Parrado, El Mundo, April 7, 2003, outside Baghdad
- Tareq Ayyoub, Al-Jazeera, April 8, 2003, Baghdad
- José Couso, Telecinco, April 8, 2003, Baghdad
- Taras Protsyuk, Reuters, April 8, 2003, Baghdad
- Richard Wild, freelance, July 5, 2003, Baghdad
- Jeremy Little, NBC News, July 6, 2003, Fallujah
- Mazen Dana, Reuters, August 17, 2003, outside Baghdad
- Ahmed Shawkat, Bilah Ittijah, October 28, 2003, Mosul
ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES: 2
- Nazih Darwazeh, Associated Press Television News, April 19, 2003, Nablus
- James Miller, freelance, May 2, 2003, Rafah
IVORY COAST: 1
- Jean Hélène, Radio France Internationale, October 21, 2003, Abidjan
- Gyanendra Khadka, Rastriya Samachar Samiti, September 7, 2003, Jyamire, Sindhupalchowk
- Fazal Wahab, freelance, January 21, 2003, Mingora
- Apolinario “Polly” Pobeda, DWTI-AM radio, May 17, 2003, Lucena City, Quezon
- Bonifacio Gregorio, Dyaryo Banat, July 8, 2003, La Paz, Tarlac
- Noel Villarante, DZJV Radio and Laguna Score, August 19, 2003, Santa Cruz, Laguna Province
- Rico Ramirez, DXSF Radio, August 20, 2003, Agusan del Sur
- Juan “Jun” Pala, DXGO radio, September 6, 2003, Davao City
- Aleksei Sidorov, Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye, October 9, 2003, Togliatti
- Abdullahi Madkeer, DMC Radio, January 24, 2003, Baidoa