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2004 Deadliest Year for a Decade For Journalists


The deadliest year for a decade: 53 journalists killed

Reporters Without Borders annual roundup

In 2004: - 53 journalists and 15 media assistants were killed - at least 907 journalists were arrested - 1,146 were attacked or threatened - and at least 622 media outlets were censored

In 2003: - 40 journalists and 2 media assistants were killed - at least 766 journalists were arrested - 1,460 were attacked or threatened - and at least 501 media outlets were censored

On 1 January 2005: - 107 journalists and 70 cyber-dissidents were in prison around the world

The deadliest year for a decade

At least 53 journalists were killed in 2004 while doing their job or for expressing their opinions, the highest annual toll since 1995. Fifteen media assistants (fixers, drivers, translators, technicians, security staff and others) were also killed.

For the second year running, Iraq was the world's most dangerous country for journalists. Nineteen reporters and 12 media assistants were killed there during the year. Terrorist strikes and Iraqi guerrilla attacks were the main cause, but the US army was held responsible for the death of four of them. Ali al-Khatib and Ali Abdel Aziz, of the satellite TV station Al-Arabiya, were shot dead near a US checkpoint on 18 March. Ten days later, the US army admitted responsibility but said it was an accident. Assad Kadhim and Hussein Saleh, who worked for the TV station Al-Iraqiya, were killed on 19 April, also by US troops.

Exposing corruption and reporting on organised crime was the next main reason for journalists being killed.

Journalists were murdered in Asia - especially in the Philippines (6) and Bangladesh (4) - just for investigating delicate matters such as corruption, drug-trafficking and gangsterism. The Philippine press ran a collective editorial in early December saying it would "remember 2004 as a year of infamy" and that "with every murder of a journalist, or a judge, an environmentalist, an anti-corruption activist, a human rights worker, democracy dies a little."

The murder in Gambia of journalist Deyda Hydara in December was a reminder that in Africa, too, journalists are killed.

The complete version of RSF's 2004 annual roundup is available at: http://www.rsf.org

For further information see Internet: http://www.rsf.org

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