The Iraq conflict has become the most deadly conflict for journalists
to cover in the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) 24-years history, the
group's most recent analysis shows. A total of 60 journalists have been killed
on duty in Iraq since the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion, including 22 in 2005.
That figure surpasses the Algerian conflict from 1993 to 1996, in which 58 journalists
The CPJ report names 47 journalists who were killed in 2005 along with 11 whose
causes of death are still being investigated. According to the CPJ's investigations,
37 of the 47 confirmed deaths were murders. Five journalists died in crossfire
and five as a result of dangerous assignments. Although this total number is
down from last year's 57 deaths, it is higher than the last 10 years' annual
average of 34.
Iraq by far claimed the most journalists' lives, 22, more than 70% of which
were classified as murders. Fatal abductions are an increasing problem there,
where at least eight journalists were kidnapped and killed in 2005. And with
foreign journalists staying out of harm's way, Iraqi journalists accounted for
21 of Iraq's 22 deaths; American freelancer Steven Vincent was the only foreign
journalist casualty in Iraq last year.
The Philippines was the second deadliest place for journalists in 2005, accounting
for four murders. Six countries recorded two deaths each for the year: Lebanon,
Russia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Somalia.
The CPJ report also reiterated a tendency toward impunity for these deaths.
About 90% of such deaths were unpunished in 2005, and less than 15% of journalist
murders since 1992 have resulted in the arrest and prosecution of those who
ordered the killings.