Global Policy Forum

IRAQ: Most Dangerous Place


Integrated Regional Information Networks
January 4, 2006

Iraq was the most dangerous place for journalists in 2005 and the deadliest conflict for media workers in the last 24 years, according to the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

"The war in Iraq might lead one to think that reporters are losing their lives on the battlefield. But the fact is that three out of four journalists killed around the world are singled out for murder, and their killers are rarely brought to justice. It's a terrible indictment of governments that let warlords and criminals dictate the news their citizens can see and hear," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said.

Iraq accounted for 22 deaths in 2005, or nearly half of the year's total, the CPJ found. Murder accounted for more than 70 percent of the deaths documented by the watchdog organisation. An increasing number of journalists were murdered last year, in contrast with the previous two years where crossfire had been the leading cause of death. Fatal abductions also emerged as a particularly disturbing trend with at least eight journalists kidnapped and slain in 2005, compared with one abduction the previous year.

Additionally, those responsible for the deaths usually go unpunished, the journalist watchdog association said following an analysis of the situation. "Slayings were carried out with impunity about 90 percent of the time in 2005, a figure consistent with data collected by CPJ over more than a decade," a CPJ statement said.

"Too many journalists have lost their lives just because they were doing their jobs, and unresponsive governments bear responsibility for the toll," Cooper added. "Iraqi journalists bore the brunt of these attacks as it became increasingly hazardous for foreign reporters and photojournalists to work in the field," the statement added.

Steven Vincent, a US citizen, was the only foreign journalist to be killed in Iraq in 2005; five foreigners died there a year earlier. At least three journalists were killed as a result of fire from US forces, compared with six such deaths in 2004. A total of 60 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March 2003.

An analysis of the casualties in Iraq is available at:

More Information on Iraq
More Information on the Media Coverage of Iraq
More Information on the Consequences of the War in Iraq


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