INSI News Release
What price world press freedom when journalists die?
02 May 2007
Brussels, 2 May - Ever-increasing numbers of journalists are being killed as the world marks another press freedom day.
The International News Safety Institute has recorded the deaths of 180 journalists and other media professionals covering the news in 38 countries since the last World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2006. A total of 164 were murdered.
The worst killing ground continued to be Iraq with 79 dead, followed by the Philippines with 13, Mexico with 8, Afghanistan with 6 and Russia and Guyana with 5 each. The vast majority of the dead were not international conflict reporters but local journalists working in their own countries doing their daily jobs.
Most were shot by unknown assailants. Ten died in bombings, six were savagely beaten, four were beheaded and two were tortured to death.
The most prominent murder was that of Russian investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya last October. She was shot dead in the elevator of her apartment building in Moscow. No one yet has been arrested for the crime.
The worst mass killings took place in Iraq and Guyana. Masked gunmen cold-bloodedly executed 11 employees of fledgling satellite TV channel Al-Shaabiya in Baghdad in October. All of Guyana's dead occurred in August when an armed gang slaughtered print technicians working for the newspaper Kaieteur News.
INSI now counts 194 news media dead in Iraq, most of them Iraqis, since the US-led invasion in 2003.
INSI earlier this year published the results of its two-year global inquiry into journalist deaths which showed that 1,000 journalists and support staff had died covering the news over the past 10 years. And the toll was increasing year-by-year, with a record 168 deaths in 2006.
Fifty-two have died in the first four months of this year, compared with 33 over the same period last year.
"There can be no real press freedom in the world while journalists continue to be killed on the frontlines of truth in so many countries ," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.
"On this World Press Freedom Day we appeal yet again for determined action by world bodies and national governments to stem the killings. They might start by ensuring the murderers of journalists are swiftly brought to justice."
The INSI inquiry showed that impunity was a major factor behind journalist deaths with barely one in 10 of cases resulting in a prosecution.
The inquiry, which can be read on http://www.newssafety.com/stories/insi/globalinquiry.htm
made several recommendations aimed at ending the bloodshed, including urging governments to respect UN Resolution 1738 of last December on the safety of journalists.
Details of deaths recorded by INSI can be checked on http://www.newssafety.com/casualties/index.htm
As a safety organisation, INSI records all deaths, whether deliberate or accidental, of all news professionals, whether journalists or support workers, staff or freelance.
INSI member organisations which also track journalist casualties include the International Federation of Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Press Institute and the World Association of Newspapers.
Any inquiries on this news release should be address to Rodney Pinder at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. +44 7334 709 267