By: Deepti Hajela, Associated Press Writer
(AP) Thirteen journalists were killed last year covering the war in Iraq, the highest death toll for the media in a single country since 1995, a watchdog group said Friday.
In all, 36 journalists were killed worldwide last year, up from 19 in 2002, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
Iraq was the main reason for the increase. “Iraq is a dangerous place for many of the people who are there now,” said Ann Cooper, the organization’s executive director.
“It’s still a huge story,” she said. “It’s particularly a huge story for American media. There are probably hundreds of journalists there at any given time, and they’re at great risk.”
CPJ said it was particularly troubled by the deaths of four journalists in Iraq killed as a result of U.S. military action. It has called on the Pentagon for a public accounting.
The count only includes journalists killed as a direct result of their work; the list does not include six other reporters who died from illness or accidents while covering the war.
The group is also investigating the cases of four missing journalists, and 12 journalist deaths that may have been work-related.
Conflict in the Middle East also claimed the lives of two journalists in Israel and the occupied territories.
Five journalists were killed in the Philippines, four in Colombia, two in Brazil, and one each in Cambodia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, and Somalia.
The death toll in Iraq was the highest for a single country since 24 journalists were killed in Algeria eight years ago.