New Zealand quake crushes TV station, newspaper

New York, February 24, 2011–The Committee to Protect Journalists sends its condolences to the families and friends of New Zealand killed or missing following Tuesday’s earthquake.

“We mourn the deaths the of journalists and media workers in this tragedy and send our heartfelt condolences to their relatives and colleagues,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator.

Though an official death tally has not been released after the Christchurch offices of Canterbury Television (CTV) collapsed, the station said in a statement: “Many of our staff are missing and lives have been lost.” A CTV executive told the New Zealand Herald on Wednesday that around 15 staff members were unaccounted for. Twenty-three bodies have been recovered from the building that housed the offices, along with an English-language school, and 120 bodies may still be trapped in the wreckage, according to The Associated Press. Police said no more survivors were expected to be found, AP reported.

One unnamed staff member of The Press daily newspaper was also killed when the publication’s offices partially collapsed, according to local news reports.

A total 98 deaths have been recorded and 226 people listed missing following Tuesday’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake, according to AP.