Most dangerous countries: Algeria, former Yugoslavia, Colombia
CPJ researchers report that between 1986 and 1995, 456 journalists were killed in 61 countries for reasons related directly to their profession. More than 300 of those deaths appeared to have been deliberate political assassinations. In his introduction to Attacks on the Press in 1995, CPJ’s executive director William A. Orme, Jr., outlines how the countries with the highest death tolls illustrate the different kinds of threats now facing independent journalists around the world:
Silencing the press in the name of religion and politics
- Algeria, 53 deaths: Reporters and editors in the press are being targeted for harassment, intimidation and murder by Islamist radicals.
Targeting journalists in war zones
- The former Yugoslavia, 45 deaths: The internationally accepted norm of treating reporters as civilian noncombatants is increasingly ignored by armed factions in civil wars. Reporters covering civil wars are now targeted by armed belligerents who perceive journalists to be the enemy.
Putting out contracts on the lives of reporters covering drug trafficking
- Colombia, 43 deaths: Drug cartels and organized crime syndicates are targeting journalists with growing frequency. In the coming decade, threats from such groups could well become an even more deadly problem than political persecution.
Stamping out free expression in societies accustomed to tyranny
- Tajikistan, 29 deaths: The return to totalitarianism in a country that had briefly embraced democracy was accompanied by a campaign of murder and censorship against a small corps of independent journalists.
Retaliating against those who investigate human rights abuses and corruption
- The Philippines, 29 deaths: Though more common in the Marcos era, the murders of provincial reporters who uncovered human rights abuses and corruption continued through the Aquinos and Ramos governments as the restoration of democracy emboldened local publications to investigate such issues.
On May 20, 1996, The Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan, international foundation committed to free press and free speech, will dedicate a memorial to journalists who have died in the line of duty since 1812. CPJ provided the foundation with its lists of journalists killed in the last 10 years and will continue to work with The Freedom Forum to update the memo-rial, which will be rededicated every year. The memorial will be located in the newly created Freedom Park, adjacent to the foundation’s headquarters in Arlington, Va.
The 10-year Death Toll for Journalists*
125 in the AMERICAS
El Salvador: 10
United States: 7
Dominican Republic: 1
114 in EUROPE & THE REPUBLICS OF THE FORMER SOVIET UNION
Bosnia and Herzegovina: 20
Soviet Union: 8**
United Kingdom: 1
**Eight journalists were killed in what used to be the Soviet Union during this period: three in Azerbaijan, three in Russia and two in Latvia.
85 in the MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA
79 in ASIA
Sri Lanka: 9
Papua New Guinea: 1
Vietnam: 153 in AFRICA
South Africa: 6
*All figures above reflect the number of journalists killed in the line of duty.