62 Die as Assassins Target Journalists in 2000

MThe year 2000 has been marked by a series of assassinations and targeted murders of journalists that highlight the dangers facing reporters around the world says the International Federation of Journalists, which today released its list of journalists and mediaworkers killed during the year.

According to the IFJ, 62 killings took place, many of them directed against media exposing corruption or expressing political dissent.

"The death toll speaks for itself - journalists risk their lives daily for expressing independent opinions and exposing wrongdoing," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ. "In every corner of the world journalists have paid a terrible price in the struggle for democracy."

The IFJ welcomed a recent decision by a number of major media to adopt a Code of Conduct for Safety for their staff. "Media must do everything they can to create safe working conditions," said the IFJ, which has published its own Code of Practice for the Safe Conduct of Journalism.

The IFJ's report lists 37 journalists as having been killed as a result of their work, and details 20 cases as under investigation. The deaths of five media staff are also listed.

The Report highlights a number of dramatic examples of assassination: In Colombia 9 journalists have been targeted by paramilitary in the country's long-running civil conflict; in Spain, Jose Luis Lopez de la Calle, an outspoken critic of the terrorist group ETA, was shot outside his home; in Pakistan, Sufi Mohammed Khan, a reporter who exposed local mafia was killed after death threats; in Mozambique, Carlos Cardoso, a campaigning editor, was gunned down in a military-style ambush; in Russia, Sergei Novikov, a radio station owner who made trenchant criticism of regional political leaders, was shot by a lone killer outside his home.

At the same time journalists covering war zones have continued to be in the firing line. One Palestinian journalist has been killed and about 30 injured in the Middle East conflict and two veteran reporters, Miguel Gil Moreno of AP and Kurt Schork of Reuters, were shot dead in a horrifying ambush in war-torn Seirra Leone.

Full copies of the report are available from the IFJ Secretariat on: +32 2 223 22 65 and on the IFJ Website at IFJ Killed List 2000