Murder, ‘suicide,’ crossfire: A week of journalist killings

Today we will report another murder of a journalist. This one was in Argentina. The last one we documented was a couple days ago–Alberto Graves Chakussanga was shot in the back in Angola. These tragedies are part of our daily work at CPJ, but this week was different. There have been eight killings of journalists around the globe since September 3, an unusually high number during my three years as an editor here.

I can’t say there’s a particular pattern I can point out, other than the fact that hot spots like Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan still deliver morbid news regularly: A journalist and media worker were killed in explosive violence in Quetta; an anchorman for Al-Iraqiya died when a group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on his car in Baghdad; an Al-Mosuliya television presenter was shot in front of his Mosul home by gunmen firing from a speeding car; and a well-known TV anchor was found stabbed to death outside his home in Kabul.

Unexplained deaths like the one in Belarus will continue to happen as well: Aleh Byabenin, founder and director of the Minsk-based pro-opposition news website Charter 97, was found suspiciously hanged in his home. The initial finding of suicide was met with widespread skepticism and caused authorities to reopen the case.

There are many questions in Angola, too. Chakussanga, a radio journalist for a station critical of the ruling MPLA government, died the day his wife gave birth to their son. 

We will continue to do what we can to determine whether these deaths were directly related to the journalists’ work. And we will continue to press for investigations and prosecutions in all cases until each killing sees justice.