(AP) In a somber rededication of a memorial to journalists who died on the job, 78 reporters, photographers, editors and broadcasters were honored Tuesday, their names etched on the spiraling glass structure.
The Iraq war claimed the lives of 25 of them, including a CNN producer, a Polish television correspondent, and an Italian freelancer who was kidnapped and murdered by a militant group.
Overall, 2004 was the third deadliest year for the profession in nearly two centuries, according to the Freedom Forum, which established the memorial in 1996 and rededicates it each year to mark World Press Freedom Day.
The memorial now bears the name of American journalist Paul Klebnikov, the editor of Forbes magazine’s Russian edition who was gunned down in Moscow in July.
Among the 78 who died while on assignment in two dozen countries, some were targeted because of their reporting, while others died in the crossfire of war. Nine were Filipinos killed in their own country.
The ceremony began under a morning sun that reflected a rainbow of colors off the memorial. Journalists took turns reading the names of the 1,528 people previously etched on the structure, beginning with a man stomped to death in 1812 by a mob angry with his Federalist newspaper and views.
Only two years have been deadlier than 2004: Ninety-three journalists died in 1991, a year of heavy fighting in the Balkans and drug-fueled conflict in Colombia. In 1994, the Rwandan genocide, civil war in Algeria and war in Bosnia-Herzegovina brought the death toll to 94.
Including those who died in Iraq last year, 45 journalists have perished there since the conflict began in 2003, the Freedom Forum said. By comparison, 69 journalists died covering World War II, and 63 died during two decades of war in Vietnam and Cambodia.
The memorial is financed by the Freedom Forum, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to a free press.