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Alarming Number of Journalists Killed In 10 Days

Alarming Number of Journalists Killed In Past 10 Days

The World Association of Newspapers today expressed its dismay at a recent spate of killings of journalists and has called on governments to conduct rapid and thorough investigations to bring their assassins to justice.

Eight journalists have been killed since the beginning of the year, six of them in the last ten days. The toll follows a particularly bloody year in 2004, when 71 journalists were killed worldwide.

"We are horrified by this escalation of violence against journalists and the impunity which their assailants continue to enjoy in most countries," said Timothy Balding, Director General of the Paris-based WAN. "We call on governments to show much greater determination in tracking down and prosecuting the killers. Hundreds of journalists have been killed world-wide in the past decade, and no one has been brought to justice, much less convicted, in the vast majority of cases."

WAN will focus its activities for World Press Freedom Day, on 3 May next, on the unpunished killings of journalists, with a campaign called "Impunity - Getting Away With Murder", Mr Balding said.

The killings since 7 February include:

- Kiat Saetang, managing editor of the "Had Yai Post", who was shot dead in the town of Had Yai in southern Thailand on 14 February. According to reports, Kiat was on his motorbike when he was shot several times from behind by one of two men also on a motorbike. Kiat¹s wife reportedly told investigators that she believed the killing was linked to his exposés on the misconduct of local politicians.

- Sheikh Belaluddin, a correspondent for the Bengali-language daily "Sangram", who died on 11 February from injuries sustained in a bomb attack at a press club in the city of Khulna a week earlier.

- Abdul-Hussein Khazal, an Iraqi correspondent for the U.S.-funded television station Al-Hurra, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen outside his home in the city of Basra on 9 February. The journalist¹s three-year old son was also killed in the attack.

- Kate Peyton, a reporter for the BBC, who was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting on 9 February in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. According to witnesses, the journalist was entering a hotel when unidentified assailants shot her before speeding off. The journalist had reportedly arrived only hours earlier to begin a series of reports on the country.

- Amir Nowab, a freelance cameraman for Associated Press Television News and reporter for the Pakistan-based Frontier Post newspaper, and Allah Noor, who was working for Peshawar-based Khyber TV, who were fatally shot by gunmen in Pakistan¹s tribal area of South Waziristan on 7 February.

Details of all the murders can be found on the WAN web site at The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 72 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 10 news agencies and ten regional and world-wide press groups.

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