New York, December 10, 2004—The ongoing violence in Iraq and a rash of killings in the Philippines have made 2004 the deadliest year for journalists in a decade. According to research compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists, 54 journalists have been killed in the line of duty so far this year, surpassing the toll in 1995, when 51 were killed, many in Algeria’s bloody civil war.
“The number of journalists killed in 2004 is both shocking and unacceptable,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “Some of these reporters died in crossfire while covering a very dangerous war in Iraq, but the majority were murdered in direct reprisal for their reporting, particularly in the Philippines, where killers of journalists are not brought to justice.”
The deadliest year for journalists since CPJ began compiling detailed statistics was 1994, when 66 journalists were killed, mostly in Algeria, Rwanda, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In 2004, Iraq has been the most dangerous place for journalists, with 23 killed as a direct result of their work. The vast majority of those killed were Iraqi journalists, who were targeted by insurgents, caught in crossfire, or killed by U.S. forces’ fire. Thirty-six journalists have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the conflict in March 2003, along with 18 media workers.
Eight journalists have been killed in the Philippines this year, all of them targeted for their work. Provincial radio reporters covering corruption were especially vulnerable. A culture of impunity has contributed to this deadly trend: No one has been brought to justice in the murders of at least 48 journalists since the Philippines became a democracy in 1986.
CPJ considers a journalist to be killed on duty if the person died as a result of a hostile action, such as retaliation for his or her work, or in crossfire while carrying out a dangerous assignment. CPJ does not include journalists killed in accidents, or those who died of health ailments.
CPJ staff has compiled detailed information on journalists killed around the world since 1992. Statistical information is available on CPJ’s Web site.