Ten journalists were killed last year in Pakistan, making it the deadliest country for the media, the Newseum in Washington reported after adding the names of reporters and photographers who died while covering the news last year to its Journalists Memorial. The rededication of the Journalists Memorial was held in the Knight TV Studio, Newseum in Washington DC on Monday to honour the fallen journalists of 2010.
“Sadly, we know that this time next year, we will have to rededicate the memorial with new names of brave journalists who have died,” Charles Overby, chief executive officer of the Newseum, said in his welcoming address.
Since its inception in 1996, the Newseum has rededicated the memorial each year, adding names of reporters who died the previous year. This year’s dedication paid tribute to the 77 slain journalists, adding 59 names to its Journalists Memorial, including 10 from Pakistan.
Krishna Bharat, founder and head of Google News and one of two featured speakers, praised the “exceptional journalists” who “chose to walk a path that was not paved in gold but in danger.”
“Let their stories not be forgotten,” Bharat said. “Let us repeat them and re-tweet them so that the world knows that silencing a journalist simply does not pay.”
Pakistan was followed by Mexico at seven deaths and Iraq at six for being the deadliest country for the media. Four of the 10 journalists killed in Pakistan lost their lives in suicide attacks. Express News Correspondent Abdul Wahab has also been mentioned in the list of brave Pakistani journalists who have lost their lives performing their duties. Wahab, 35, was killed when a suicide bomber struck at a meeting of tribal leaders and government officials in Ghalani area of Mohmand Agency, near the Afghan border.
The journalism and free speech museum also added 18 names of journalists who died on assignment in previous years. Their names have been added to a different panel and the memorial gallery also features photographs and kiosks for visitors to learn about each person named on the memorial. With the addition of the new names, there are now 2,084 journalists honoured on the memorial, dating back to 1837.
The journalism and free speech museum’s annual ceremony drew family, friends and colleagues of the fallen journalists. Alexander Lebedev, a Russian businessman and co-owner of Novaya Gazeta, a Russian publication noted for its investigative reporting of the Russian political arena, recalled in his address the murder of one his reporters, whose killers are currently serving lengthy prison terms. Lebedev went on to say that he made a commitment to take on global corruption and to support journalists around the world.
“We can bring to justice those who are standing behind the injustices and tragedies,” he said while adding, “We will do whatever is needed to support independent journalism”.
The names of over 2,000 individuals from around the world are etched on the glass panels of the soaring, two-story structure. The memorial is rededicated each year to honour the names of journalists who lost their lives on the job in the preceding year.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2011.