Inquiry reveals death toll of news workers

Two journalists have been killed every week in the course of their work over the last 10 years, according to a survey by the International News Safety Institute (INSI).

The survey, described as the world’s most comprehensive inquiry into the deaths of journalists and media professionals, revealed that 1,000 news media personnel around the world have been killed trying to report the news over the past 10 years. These include all news media personnel – journalists, drivers, translators and office staff – and include all causes of death, providing they died because of their work.

The survey also showed that only one in four journalists died in war and other armed conflicts, and that at least 657 were murdered in peacetime, reporting the news in their own country. In twothirds of cases the killers were not identified, and nine out of 10 murders in the past decade have never been prosecuted.

The top five bloodiest countries over the past ten years have been Iraq (138 deaths), Russia (88), Columbia (72), Philippines (55) and Iran (54). Iran’s figures are swollen by an air accident that killed 48 media personnel.

Shooting was the greatest cause of death, accounting for almost half the total. Armed forces – regular or irregular – police and officials accounted for 22 per cent of killings.

The chairman of the special INSI inquiry, BBC global news director Richard Sambrook, said: “Ongoing impunity for the killers of journalists, who put themselves in harm’s way to keep world society informed, shames not only the governments who are responsible for their own lack of action but also the democracies that stand aside in silence. Following this inquiry, the most comprehensive ever in its field, they can no longer plead ignorance of the scale of the problem.”

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