ISLAMABAD: Covering news has always been dangerous, but in the aftermath of the intervention of US led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan immediately after 9/11, killing of media persons during duty has become the order of the day.
An in-depth study of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) shows that not less than 2,187 media persons lost their lives between January 1, 2000 and September 30, 2010, while performing their duties.
The study which was released by the PFUJ Secretariat on Saturday said that journalists and critical news gathering support staff including translators, fixers, drivers and the like have died covering stories during this period.
It was also noted that most media persons were killed in their home countries as they covered corruption, crime, unrest and other dangerous stories. The majority were murdered by elements that feared exposure of illegal activities.
The study observed shocking statistics which indicated that Iraq and Pakistan were the top two countries where killing of media persons had become a frequent feature. Iraq remained at the top throughout the period (2000-2010) with 510 media persons killed followed by Pakistan where the number of the media persons killed was 162.
The top ten countries where most media persons have been killed are as follows:
It was also noticed that minimum deaths occurred in Armenia, Burundi, Brazil, Canada, Dagestan, Ecuador, Germany, Italy, Israel, Kuwait, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Australia, Gambia, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, where only one media person in each country was killed.
There are also 97 countries of the world in which no killing of media persons came to light.
One of the most horrible incidents of violence against journalists occurred in Maguindanao, Southern Philippines on November 22, 2009 in which as many as 30 journalists were massacred when they were ambushed by gunmen.
With regards to the number of journalists murdered, the study showed that Iraq topped the list again with 98, followed by 37 in Pakistan. In the Philippines, 16 journalists were murdered, followed by 15 in Mexico, 12 each in Afghanistan and Haiti and 11 each in Netherlands and India.
In terms of targeted murders, it was observed that the figure stood at 65 for Iraq, followed by 30 in Pakistan, 28 in each, the Philippines and Rwanda, 26 in Haiti, 17 in India and 10 each in Mexico, the Netherlands and Lebanon.
The study also showed that media personnel killed in bomb blasts during the ten year period was 62 in Iraq, followed by 13 in Pakistan, five in Panama, four in Afghanistan, three in Haiti, two each in India and Nigeria and one each in Belarus and Brazil.
Thirty-seven media persons were killed in suicide attacks including 30 in Iraq, five in Pakistan, and one in the United States (US).
It was also observed that the rate of killings of media persons accelerated due to intervention of coalition forces in Iraq and Nato forces in Afghanistan.
The year 2006 and 2007 were the most fatal years for media persons in the world with 156 and 152 media persons killed respectively.