IFJ Warns of “Devastating Year of Bloodshed” as New Murders Takes Tally of Journalists Killed to 18 in 2007

The International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) today condemned the murder of journalists in Somalia, Afghanistan and the Philippines which bring the number journalists and media staff killed in 2007 to18 – a rate of killings that matches the record levels reached last year.

“2007 is already turning into a devastating year of bloodshed for journalism,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “We have seen journalists come under fire in every region of the world. We must make sure that the killers do not get away with their crimes, but the stage is already set for another record year of journalist and media staff assassinations.”

Gunmen shot and killed Hernani Pastolero, 64, editor of the weekly paper Lightning Courier as he was sipping coffee in front of his house in the town of Sultan Kudarat on the island of Mindanao, according to press reports.

On Saturday Rahman Qul, editor of government-run magazine Andkhoy was shot and killed by two armed motorcyclists in Afghanistan. Police accused the Taliban in the attack and said they had arrested a suspect in connection with the killing, a press report said.

“These killings show the intense pressure that journalists face around the world,” White said. “In armed conflict, journalists are too often regarded as troublesome and interfering by combatants who care little about the job that they do and who are cruelly insensitive to media victims. The recent passage of a United Nations resolution should make it clear that this cycle of impunity and callous indifference must end.”

The IFJ says that the murder of Hernani in the Philippines starts off another year of tragedy for one of the world’s most dangerous countries beyond the borders of Iraq. Last year at least 13 journalists were killed in the Philippines and 49 in all have been killed since President Gloria Arroyo came to power in 2001.

Also this weekend The International Federation of Journalists backed Somali journalists calling for a full investigation into the killing of a radio presenter and union activist who was set upon and shot dead. According to the National Union of Somali Journalists Ali Mohammed Omar was killed in the early evening of Friday in Baidoa of Bay region in south-western Somalia.

The IFJ has confirmed that at least 15 other journalists have been killed this year.

Including the latest deaths 2 journalists have been killed in Africa, 2 in the Americas, 3 in the Asia Pacific region, 1 in Europe and 10 in the Middle East.

For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide