Public Policy / From CWA
Posted by DavidSwanson on Jan 22, 2005 - 12:00 AM
Grim Report Urges Government Action to Limit Death Toll of Media Workers
By CWA, ILCA Member
Washington, D.C. -- A new report by the International Federation of Journalists has found 2004 to be a very deadly year for journalists and media staff.
In "2004 – A Dark and Deadly Year for Media," the IFJ recorded at least 129 killings, murders, assassinations, crossfire victims, accidents and unexplained deaths among media workers. That's the worst death toll ever recorded by the IFJ in a 12-month period, and that number likely will increase as more information becomes available, the IFJ said. In 1994, 115 deaths were recorded by the IFJ, a number later updated to 157.
IFJ released the report today at news conferences in Brussels, London and Sydney, Australia, and renewed its call for the United States and other governments to better investigate media deaths.
"Too often, governments display a heartless and cruel indifference to the suffering endured by the victims and their families. Too often, so-called investigations into the killings of our colleagues are merely a whitewashing exercise," said Aidan White, IFJ general secretary.
The IFJ report cited several examples of the failure of the United States and other nations to fully investigate media killings, particularly in Iraq, and announced plans for a second worldwide protest on April 8, the second anniversary of the Palestine Hotel attack in Baghdad where two journalists were killed in 2003.
The report examines media workers' deaths in 34 countries and is highly critical of the response of governments to those deaths. "It is inexcusable in an age when the world relies more than ever on media to tell the story that many governments fail to bring the killers of journalists to justice, or excuse themselves when their own people are involved," White said.
In Washington, Linda Foley, president of The Newspaper Guild-CWA, said much more must be done to ensure the safety of reporters because "their ability to report fully is the ultimate guarantee of press freedom for all of us." TNG-CWA represents 35,000 journalists and media workers in the United States and Canada and works with the IFJ and the International Safety Institute to better prepare journalists and media workers for the dangers they face around the world.
By region, the IFJ report lists the name, profession and circumstances under which media workers were killed last year. In Latin America, a continent where no country is at war, it is hard to conceive of the fact that 26 journalists were killed during the year, the IFJ report said, citing attacks on reporters and writers by assassins under the control of drug-traffickers and others who seek to "stifle independent voices and punish journalists who tell the truth."
Africa remains a serious danger zone, with three gruesome killings in 2004, one journalist still missing and presumed dead and other attacks providing "grim reminders of the constant dangers facing media workers across the continent," the report found.
In the Middle East, the Iraq war boosted the death toll of media workers to 54, IFJ said, stressing that so many unexplained deaths proved the need for international rules to force independent investigations of these killings.
The full report is available at www.ifj.org. More information is available at www.newsguild.org and www.newssafety.com.
This article is from ILCA Online