Forty-seven journalists were killed in 2005, more than three-quarters of whom were murdered to silence their criticism or punish them for their work, CPJs annual survey found. That compares with 57 deaths in 2004, just under two-thirds of which were murders.
Iraq, the most dangerous place for journalists in 2005, also became the deadliest conflict for the media since the Committee to Protect Journalists began keeping tallies 24 years ago.
A total of 60 journalists have been killed on duty in Iraq from the beginning of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 through the end of 2005. The toll surpasses the 58 journalists killed in the Algerian conflict from 1993 to 1996.
CPJs analysis also documented a long-term trend — those who murder journalists usually go unpunished. 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. Less than 15 percent of journalist murders since 1992 have resulted in the arrest and prosecution of those who ordered the killings.
Although the 2005 toll reflected a decline from the previous year, it was still well above the annual average of 34 deaths that CPJ has documented over the past 10 years. In fact, 104 journalists were killed in 2004 and 2005, making it the deadliest two-year period since the war in Algeria raged a decade ago.
"Too many journalists have lost their lives just because they were doing their jobs, and unresponsive governments bear responsibility for the toll," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said.
"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. Its a terrible indictment of governments that let warlords and criminals dictate the news their citizens can see and hear," Cooper said.