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100 Journalists Killed In 2001

One hundred news media workers were feared killed around the world in 2001, the highest total for six years, the International Federation of Journalists said Monday.

The highest death toll was in the United States, mainly as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The IFJ's annual report listed four journalists and eight other news media workers slain in the United States.

They included William Biggart a photographer with the Impact Visuals agency who rushed to the World Trade Center to cover the attack in New York and Robert Stevens the photo editor killed by an anthrax-infected letter sent to the Florida offices of American Media Inc.

Also listed were six broadcast engineers working in Tower One of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, including Isias Rivera and Bob Pattison of WCBS-TV, and Thomas Pecorelli, a free-lance camera operator on the American Airlines flight that crashed into the tower.

Colombia again topped this list for the number of journalists directly targeted for assassination, with four confirmed cases and six under investigation.

Confirmed killings included Flavio Bedoya, who was shot by suspected right-wing paramilitaries while getting off a bus in the city of Tumaco, and Edgar Tavera Gaona, a radio reporter whose death was blamed on leftist rebels.

Eight journalists were killed covering the war in Afghanistan, including four international reporters dragged from a convoy and shot; two French radio reporters and a German journalist killed while traveling with a Northern Alliance convoy that came under Taliban fire; and Swedish cameraman Ulf Stromberg shot during a robbery in the northern city of Taloqan.

"The roll call of media casualties provides a tragic reminder of the price we pay for press freedom and democracy," said Aidan White, general secretary of the IFJ, which represents 500,000 media professionals in 106 nations.

In an interview, he said the list of 77 confirmed deaths of news media staff killed in the exercise of their work and 23 under investigation in 2001 was a "conservative estimate" that would likely grow as more information is revealed in the months ahead.

He said over 1,000 had been killed over the past 10 years and called on governments and the media industry to take more steps to cut the death toll.

Among the journalists listed was Kerem Lawton, 30, an Associated Press Television News producer, who was slain March 29 during a mortar attack while he covered the deployment of NATO-led peacekeepers along Kosovo's border with Macedonia.

Highlighting the global threat of assassination to investigative reporters, White pointed to the killings of Mario Coelho from the Brazilian newspaper A Verdade who was shot on the day before he was due to testify in a criminal defamation case, and Martin O'Hagan who specialized in Northern Ireland's paramilitary underworld and was shot by suspected anti-Catholic gunmen.

Other U.S. news media deaths in the report included two journalists nd a broadcast engineer killed in plane crashes while covering stories.

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