54 journalists killed in 2004

Fifty-four journalists were killed this year, making 2004 the deadliest year for the media in a decade, a watchdog group said Friday.

Iraq is the most dangerous place for journalists to work, with 23 killed this year, up from 13 last year, said the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Most of those who died there were Iraqi reporters killed by insurgents, and many of them died while working for the American media, said Executive Director Ann Cooper.

"What we've seen this year is the deliberate targeting of Iraqis who work with Westerners, and that includes Iraqis working with the Western media," she said.

At least 22 journalists were kidnapped in Iraq, the group said. Of those, Enzo Baldoni, an Italian freelance journalist, was killed.

The only American killed this year was Paul Klebnikov, 41, the editor of Forbes Russia who was gunned down in Moscow in July. Klebnikov was an investigative reporter who published a number of books and articles examining Russia's wealthiest people.

After Iraq, the most dangerous country to report from was the Philippines, where eight journalists were killed this year.

"It's often a provincial journalist working for radio, riding a motorcycle to or from work, and gunmen come down and shoot them on the streets," Cooper said.

At least 48 journalists have been killed there since the Philippines became a democracy in 1986, the group said.

"It's gotten to the point where people understand they can get away with murdering a journalist in the Philippines," Cooper said. "Nobody's ever been brought to justice."

The count includes only journalists killed as a direct result of their work. Reporters who died in accidents or from illness while on assignment were not counted, and neither were people who work with the media, such as drivers, translators and others.

The deadliest year since the group began compiling statistics 12 years ago was 1994, when 66 journalists were killed, mostly covering conflicts in Algeria, Rwanda and Bosnia.

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