2,187 media persons killed from Jan 01, 2000 to Sept 30, 2010
Islamabad, Covering the news has always been dangerous, but in the aftermath of the intervention of US led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 incident of New York, killing of media persons during duty has become order of the day.
Not less than 2,187 media persons lost their lives between January 01, 2000 to Sept 30, 2010 in 106 out of 203 countries of the world while performing their professional assignments. During the same period 14 female journalists also lost their lives discharging their duties. This has been observed in an in-depth study conducted by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) about killing of media related employees, including journalists throughout the world. The study which was released by the PFUJ Secretariat here on Saturday said that 66 media persons have already been killed throughout the world, including 10 media persons killed in Pakistan and 6 in Honduras. It was also observed that journalists and critical news gathering support staff u translators, fixers, drivers and the like u have died covering stories during this period out of which many died on international battlefields or on assignment relating to natural disasters. Most fell in their home countries as they covered corruption, crime, unrest and other dangerous stories.
The majority were murdered by elements that feared exposure of illegal activities. The free flow of information on which enlightened societies depend for efficient government, business and public education, is constricted whenever journalists are killed, beaten, threatened and forced to work in fear of their safety and that of their families. The study observed very shocking statistics which indicated that Iraq , Pakistan , Philippines , Cambodia , Netherland , Rwanda , India , Haiti , Afghanistan and Mexico were the top ten countries where killing of media persons had become a frequent feature. It was also noticed that minimum deaths occurred in Armenia, Burundi, Brazil, Canada, Dagestan, Ecuador, Germany, Italy, Israel, Kuwait, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Australia, Gambia, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, where only one media person in each country was killed. There are also 97 countries of the world in which no killing of media persons came to light. Iraq remained at the top throughout the period (2000-2010) with 510 media persons killed followed by Pakistan where the number of the media killed was 162. Philippines 110, Cambodia 97, Netherland 72, Rwanda 63, India 60, Haiti 58, Afghanistan 52, Maxico 49 and 44 in Somalia. One of the most horrible incidents occurred in Maguindanao, Southern Philippines on November 22 in 2009 in which as many as 30 journalists were massacred.
In that incident it was noticed that oGunmen ambushed a caravan of political supporters and journalists on their way to file election papers, killing at least 30 media persons. There are five countries in which for whole the decade only one journalist each was killed. There are 13 countries where two journalists each were killed. In the category of murders cases, it was observed during the study that 98 took place in Iraq followed by 37 in Pakistan, in the remaining 8 countries, death tool on account of murders by chance followed by 37 in Pakistan, 26 Philippines, 16 Maxico, 15, 12 each in Afghanistan and Haiti each while 11 each in Netherland and India.. Likewise, Iraq was again on top in the category of murders by target killing, with the figure of 65 again followed by Pakistan with the figure of 30, while in the next eight countries, Philippines, 28, Rwanda 28, Haiti 26, India 17, India 14 and 10 each in Maxico, Netherland and Labnan. Similarly, the Iraq again came at the top position in killings due to bomb blasts with the figure of 62, again followed by Pakistan with the figure of 13 remaining 8 other top countries under this category includes 13 UK, Panama 5, Afghanistan 4, Haiti 3, 2 each in India, Nigeria,, while one each in Belarus and Brazil.
37 media persons were killed in the rising trend of suicidal attacks which included 30 in Iraq alone, 5 in Pakistan and one in FRY, and one in US. It was also observed that the rate of killings of media persons accelerated due to intervention of coalition forces in Iraq and NATO forces in Afghanistan . The year 2006 and 2007 were the most fatal years for media persons in the world with 156 and 152 media persons killed respectively. The death toll dipped to 112 media parsons in the year 2008 which spurred to 135 in the year 2009. The other years in which the death tolls crossed the figure of one hundred were 2001 with 109 and 112 in the year 2008. Although, dangerous and emerging trend of killing of media persons has sounded alarm bells for all media organizations throughout the world, and a number of organizations are aiming at capacity building of media persons, and training in reporting in the hazardous conflict zones, yet in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Combodia, Haiti, India, Lebanon, Nederland, Philippines, and Rwanda, the scale of the training and capacity building for safety of media persons could not improve the plight of the media persons.