By: Frank Eltman, Associated Press Writer
(AP) The war in Afghanistan contributed to a sharp increase in the number of journalists killed worldwide in 2001, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.
Thirty-seven journalists were killed in 2001. The year before, 24 journalists died covering the news, said CPJ, a New York-based group that defends press freedoms around the world.
The increase was blamed largely on the war in Afghanistan, where eight journalists were killed covering the U.S.-led military campaign. A ninth died of wounds suffered in Afghanistan two years earlier.
It also was the highest death toll for journalists in one country since 1999, when 10 journalists died in Sierra Leone.
The committee noted, however, that most journalists killed in 2001 were murdered in reprisal for reporting on corruption and crime in countries such as Bangladesh, China, Thailand, and Yugoslavia.
“Journalists covering the war in Afghanistan showed extraordinary courage, but we should also remember that journalists around the world who uncovered corrupt, illegal acts and graft at high levels of power were murdered with impunity,” said Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director.
A journalist was killed in China for the first time since CPJ began keeping detailed records. Two were killed in Thailand and one in Costa Rica. No journalists were killed in Africa, where 18 were killed the previous two years.
Besides the 37 killings, CPJ is investigating the deaths of another 19 journalists.
The committee’s report comes one day after the Paris-based media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said that 489 journalists were arrested in 2001, up nearly 50% from a year ago.