Iraq War Now Deadliest Conflict Ever For Journalists

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

In less than three years, more journalists have been killed covering the Iraq war than died during around the globe in World War II or in the 20-year conflict in Vietnam and Cambodia, according to the Freedom Forum and Newseum.

On May 3–World Press Freedom Day–Freedom Forum and the Newseum will hold its annual rededication of the Journalists Memorial in Arlington, Va. This year, the names of 59 journalists who died or were killed while covering the news in 2005 will be added to the memorial.

Of those 59, 23 journalists were killed in Iraq, Freedom Forum noted. From the beginning of the conflict in 2003, when 20 journalists were killed, and including the 25 killed in 2004, and the six killed in the first three months of this year, 74 journalists have died covering Iraq.

By contrast, Freedom Forum said, 69 journalists were killed during World War II, and 63 during the Vietnam and Southeast Asia conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s.

“What should make everyone sit up and take notice is that more than 70 journalists have died in Iraq in over three years and that journalists are increasingly targeted for kidnapping, torture or murder,” said Freedom Forum Chairman and CEO Charles Overby said.

In addition to U.S. journalists, those killed while reporting or commenting this year lived in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Serbia-Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, Freedom Forum said.


While the number of dead journalists memorialized for 2005 is large, it is not as large as the numbers who died in the 1990s, when the Bosnian and Rwanda conflicts proved particularly deadly, a Newseum spokesperson said.

With the addition of their names, the memorial pays tribute to 1,665 reporters, editors, photographers and broadcasters who died or were killed while on assignment from the years 1812 to 2005.

On May 3, from 8-10 a.m., journalists will read the 1,606 names of journalists who died reporting the news from 1812 through 2004. Individuals scheduled to participate in the reading include Helen Thomas of Hearst News Service; Rob Doherty of Reuters; Lee Ivory of the Washington Association of Black Journalists; Hafez Al-Mirazi of Al Jazeera; Frank Smyth of the Committee to Protect Journalists; and David Cook of The Christian Science Monitor.

A database listing the 1,665 memorialized journalists, their affiliations and the circumstances of their death can be access at newseum.org by selecting “Journalists Memorial.”

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