Iraq is 'most dangerous place' for reporters

Fifty-eight journalists were killed in 2005, with 22 of them killed in Iraq, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) says.

The independent media body says Iraq is by far 'the most dangerous place for journalists on the planet.'

According to WAN, the Philippines was the second most deadly place for journalists, with seven journalists killed in retaliation for their reporting on crime and corruption.

Twenty-five journalists have been gunned down in the Philippines
in the last three years, making it the deadliest non-combat country for journalists.

The 22 journalists killed in Iraq in 2005 compares with 23 killed in 2004 and 15 deaths in the country in 2003.

"Covering war and terrorism continues to be a highly dangerous assignment for journalists, in constant risk of their lives," said Timothy Balding, Chief Executive Officer of the World Association of Newspapers.

"Journalists who investigate organised crime, drug trafficking, corruption and other crimes also put their lives at risk in many countries around the globe. In most cases, nobody is brought to justice for their murders."

The 2005 death toll compares with 71 killed in 2004, 53 killed in 2003, 46 killed in 2002, 60 killed in 2001 and 53 killed in 2000. Seventy journalists died in 1999 and 28 in 1998.

Journalists and other media workers were killed in 21 countries in 2005: Azerbaijan (1); Bangladesh (2); Brazil (2); Colombia (1); Democratic Republic of Congo (1); Ecuador (1); Haiti (2); Indonesia (1); Iraq (22); Lebanon (2); Libya (1); Mexico (2); Nepal (1); Pakistan (2); Philippines (7); Russia (2); Serbia & Montenegro (1); Sierra Leone (1); Somalia (2); Sri Lanka (2);  and Thailand (2).

Among those killed in 2005 was Gebran Tueni, 48, publisher of An-Nahar in Lebanon and a Board Member of the World Association of Newspapers for 10 years, who was killed by a car bomb on 12 December. WAN will soon be creating an award in his honour to commemorate courageous journalists.