Iraq claims the lives

Of
the 129 recorded deaths of journalists and media workers last year, 49
of them took place in Iraq – a far higher toll than during 2003, when
18 were killed.

Among those murdered were 12 journalists who were
victims of suicide bombings in February carried out at gatherings
celebrating the first day of Muslim holiday Eid.

Aidan White, IFJ
general secretary, said: “Indiscriminate terrorist attacks on the
Kurdish community early last year and on the Baghdad offices of Al-
Arabyia television were particularly horrifying events for the media.

“The year also saw the targeting of individual journalists.”

Despite
the high death toll, the IFJ claims less attention was paid by Western
press to the media killings than in the previous year, when 91
journalists died. According to the IFJ, this was because most of those
killed were Iraqis, rather than foreign workers.

One journalist
from the British Isles was killed in the line of duty last year – BBC
cameraman Simon Cumbers, who died in a gun attack in the Saudi capital
of Riyadh. The Irishman was filming the house of an Al Qaeda militant
killed the previous year when he came under fire.

In the
Philippines, at least nine of the 12 journalists killed were radio
commentators targeted for their hardhitting reports on local
corruption, crime and drug-trafficking.

In Europe, high-profile
murders included the shooting of Dutch journalist and film-maker Theo
Van Gogh after his film Submission triggered an outcry from Dutch
Muslims.

Reuters cameraman Adlan Khasanov was among at least 14
people killed in a bomb attack on 8 May that also killed Chechen
president Akhmad Kadyrov.

In Russia, Forbes Russia editor Pavel
Khlebnikov was shot dead on 9 July. It was believed to be a contract
killing carried out in response to his reporting on the country’s
business elite.

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