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Thursday, March 08, 2007


"Killing a journalist is easy and people get away with it. Most killers are never found and certainly never prosecuted." - Richard Sambrook, Global News Director, BBC World.

Sounds shocking, yet it is true according to this timely report by the International News Safety Institute.

Over 1,100 journalists have been killed in the last decade and the report says only a quarter of the those died covering wars or other armed conflicts. Most journalists were killed reporting the news in their own countries.

The deadliest country named in the report was Iraq, where the death toll has risen 2003. The media toll so far - 138. Russia and Colombia took second and third sport as countries where media workers faced the most dangerous situations.

One of the highest-profile case in recent years was the brazen killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a prominent critic of the Kremlin's policies in Chechnya.

This highlighted a key point of the report raised by Rodney Pinder, the Director of the Institute: "The main casualties of conflict, and of targeting of journalists, are not the international journalists who parachute into the big stories. They are ordinary journalists doing a daily job, under sometimes the most appalling dangers in their own countries. And when they're killed, nobody cares. Nobody follows through. Nothing happens as a result."

Ironically enough, while many of the murders were ways to silence troublesome reporting, the reporters who started the stories never got the coverage they deserved in death. Speak of fact being stranger than fiction.

The report Killing the Messenger hopes to change that. For starters, it is calling on media groups for better training of their staff before sending them into conflict zones and for the media to start telling the stories of the people who bring us our real life stories.

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