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Killing the messenger

29 Mawrth 2007

More than 1,000 journalists have been killed trying to report the news in the last decade, a study based on research from the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies has found.

This shocking figure, amounting to almost two deaths every week, is one of the main findings of the first comprehensive global inquiry into the deaths of journalists and media workers published by the International News Safety Institute.

A team from the School of Journalism, Media and Culture Studies compiled and analysed a database containing details of the deaths in violent circumstances dating back to 1996, to complement a series of interviews with affected journalist and support staff in critical areas. The database details 1,000 individuals of 101 nationalities, who died in 96 countries.

Nick Mosdell, a lecturer in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies said: "This inquiry is the most comprehensive to date. We would still suggest that the figures are conservative in the estimation of the numbers of media personnel that are being deliberately silenced as a result of investigating crime, corruption and misconduct in the interests of business and politics."

Recent high profile cases have included prominent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, the 13th journalist to be killed since President Vladimir Putin came to power, and Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, reportedly killed for expressing historically controversial views in Turkey.

The report found that only one in four journalists died in war and other armed conflicts, most of those killed died in their home countries.

The inquiry was led by BBC Global News Director, Richard Sambrook. He said: "The figures show that killing a journalist is virtually risk free. Nine out of ten murderers in the past decade have never been prosecuted. This is the most shocking fact at the heart of the inquiry."

The report’s recommendations challenge the United Nations, international development institutions, governments, military and security forces, news organisation and journalists themselves to support measures that will improve the safety of those reporting news.

The full report is available from the International News Safety Institute website: