1,000 Journalists

In the last 10 years, more than 1,000 journalists have been killed, but the more shocking figure is that roughly 657 of those deaths were not related to the battlefield.

The New York Times, citing a recent study, says that the majority of these news-gatherers (including “interpreters, drivers, and office personnel” along with reporters) were killed while investigating local issues.

Looking at the actual report or the highlights, released by the International News Safety Institute, is even more telling. 456 of these journalists were shot, 101 were “blown up,” while accidents in the air and on the road claimed 147 lives.

Alarmingly, out of the cases that were murders, 9 out of 10 have gone unprosecuted on uninvestigated. Armed forces, police and officials accounted for 22 percent of these killings (obviously, where the killer was known) – so the question is, who holds the responsibility?

It’s not surprising that some of the bloodiest countries for journalists – other than Iraq – have been Russia, Colombia and the Philippines. These are countries where government is notoriously corrupted either by the weight of its own greed or the sway of local mafia. These are the countries where good journalists are most desperately needed as the checks and balances of branches crumble.

Being informed is the most powerful weapon of the people – more pressure needs to be put on these governments to uphold their fourth pillar, before the truth dies out with the voice of those who would speak it.

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March 2007