More Than 100 Journalists Killed This Year

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More Than 100 Journalists Killed This Year

Postby Kapa » Sat Nov 13, 2004 6:30 pm


Associated Press Writer

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - More than 100 journalists have been killed since January, making 2004 the most deadly year for journalists in a decade, an international media rights group said.

The slayings of three journalists in recent days in Ivory Coast, Nicaragua and the Philippines pushed this year's total to 101, the International Federation of Journalists said Friday.

``2004 is turning out to be one of the most bloody years on record,'' said Aidan White, the federation's general secretary. ``The crisis of news safety has reached an intolerable level and must be addressed urgently.''

The organization recorded 83 killings of media staff in 2003 and 70 in 2002. The most deadly year for journalists since the organization began compiling annual reports in 1988 was 1994, when 115 were killed, including 48 during the genocide in Rwanda.

This year's latest victim was Gene Boyd R. Lumawag, photo editor for the independent Filipino news agency MindaNews, shot in the head Friday by an unknown gunman while on his way to take a picture of the sunset in the southern town of Jolo.

A colleague working with Lumawag said she was told by army investigators they suspected an ``urban terrorist group'' from Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group linked to al-Qaida and active in Jolo, killed the photographer.

The federation said Lumawag was the ninth journalist killed in the Philippines this year and the 58th slain there since 1986.

On Tuesday, Maria Jose Bravo, 26, a reporter with La Prensa newspaper in Nicaragua, was shot and killed while covering election-related protests. A former mayor was arrested in connection with the killing.

Bravo's managing editor said the reporter recently received threats from political party activists.

In Ivory Coast, Antoine Masse, a journalist with the pro-government newspaper Le Courrier d'Abidjan, was killed Nov. 7 while covering a confrontation between the Ivorian army, demonstrators and French forces west of Abidjan.

``All of these deaths are shocking reminders of the price journalists and media staff pay every day for press freedom and democracy,'' White said. ``We must renew our efforts to end this cycle of violence.''

The federation also highlighted the dangers in Iraq, where it said 62 journalists have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

It said the rising worldwide death toll would be discussed next week at an international meeting on media safety in the Portuguese resort of Vilamoura.

The Brussels-based group is an umbrella group for journalists' unions in more than 100 nations. It claims to represent more than 500,000 media professionals.


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