IFJ Report: At Least 150 Media Workers Killed in 2005, Many in ‘Line of Duty’
Unions Urge International Government Action to Investigate Death Toll of Media Workers
Washington, D.C. and New York -- The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has released its latest report on the killings of journalists and media workers, finding 2005 to be a very deadly year, “scarred by targeting and tragedy.”
In “Targeting and Tragedy – Journalists and Media Casualties in the Field of Journalism and Newsgathering,” the IFJ documented a record toll of 150 killings, with 89 journalists and media workers killed “in the line of duty,” many of them assassinated by ruthless killers working for political gangs or criminals. Another 61 were killed on assignment by some kind of disaster, 48 at one time during a plane crash in Tehran.
The IFJ released its report with a call for international action to counter the “impunity” which with journalists and media workers have been killed. “Impunity in the killing of journalists remains the intolerable scandal of our times that can no longer be ignored by the International community,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. The IFJ has called for action by the United Nations Security Council and has called on the Secretary General of the United Nations to press governments to act on these grim findings. The full report is available at www.ifj.org.
Iraq remained the deadliest country for media workers, where 35 were killed last year. In the Philippines, 10 media workers were killed, and nine were killed in the Colombia, Mexico and Haiti “deadly triangle” of countries plagued by drug gangs, the IFJ reported.
In Washington, Linda Foley, President of TNG-CWA, said governments must move quickly to investigate the deaths of media workers and take real action to ensure their safety. “It is critical that the U.S. government and the world community act to bring the killers of all journalists and media workers to justice. The ability of reporters to fully tell their stories is what guarantees freedom of the press for all of us. Unfortunately, as the IFJ report documents, only a handful of the killers are ever brought to trial. We must stop this shameful situation by promptly and fully investigating the death of every media worker.”
In New York, Tom Carpenter, AFTRA’s General Counsel and Director of Legislative Affairs, said, “This alarming data tells us that journalism continues to be an extremely dangerous profession. These numbers underscore the need for comprehensive and adequate safety training for journalists, as well as the need for transparent and independent investigations of incidents where criminal wrongdoing is suspected."
The IFJ is planning worldwide protests to focus attention on the need for government action to investigate and limit the killing of media workers on April 8, the third anniversary of the shelling of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad which killed two journalists.
The IFJ held news conferences today in Athens, Bogota, Brussels, Caracas, Copenhagen, Dakar, Freetown, London, Mogadishu, and Sydney to release the report.
The report also provided information on the work of the IFJ’s Safety Fund, which was established to provide humanitarian relief to media workers who were victims of violence and disaster, and their families. The families of 89 media workers killed by the December 2004 tsunami were aided, along with the families of three journalists killed in the Pakistan earthquake disaster and others in more than 25 countries. The fund demonstrates “journalist to journalist solidarity in an age when media people are more at risk than they have ever been,” White said.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – affiliated with the AFL-CIO – is a diverse national union representing more than 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters and recording artists in 32 Locals throughout the country. AFTRA members work as actors, broadcast journalists, dancers, singers, announcers, hosts, comedians and disc jockeys in all aspects of the media industries including television and radio, sound recordings, commercials, industrial non-broadcast, interactive games and the Internet. For more information, visit www.aftra.com.
About The Newspaper Guild and CWA:
The Newspaper Guild is an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America, representing 35,000 media workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. CWA – the union for the Information Age -- represents 700,000 workers in information industries. TNG-CWA works with the IFJ and the International Safety Institute to help prepare journalists and media workers for the dangers they face around the world. More information is available at www.cwa-union.org.