News is dangerous business

SUN JOURNAL

November 30, 2001

In many parts of the world they are considered armed and highly dangerous, these journalists packing tape recorders and television cameras. This year, 22 journalists have been killed, either in the line of duty or in apparent reprisal for their reporting. Another 17 have been listed as killed, motive unconfirmed.

Eight of them have died coveing the war in Afghanistan -- while America has had one combat casualty there, a Central Intelligence Agency paramilitary officer named Johnny Micheal Spann. The ground troops go in under cover of heavy air attack. The journalists go in before them, recording the arrival.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom around the world, has detailed the circumstances of their deaths on its Web site, www.cpj.org.

MOTIVE CONFIRMED

Afghanistan: 8

Ulf Stromberg, TV4, Nov. 26, Taloqan: A cameraman for the Swedish channel TV4, murdered during a robbery.

Azizullah Haidari, Reuters, Nov. 19, Nangarhar Province

Harry Burton, Reuters Television, Nov. 19, Nangarhar Province

Julio Fuentes, El Mundo, Nov. 19, Nangarhar Province

Maria Grazia Cutuli, Corriere della Serra, Nov. 19, Nangarhar Province: Four were ambushed on the road from Jalalabad to Kabul.

Johanne Sutton, Radio France Internationale, Nov. 11, Takhar

Province

Pierre Billaud, Radio Television Luxembourg, Nov. 11, Takhar Province

Volker Handloik, free-lance reporter, Nov. 11, Takhar Province: Three were killed when Taliban forces fired on a Northern Alliance military convoy.

Algeria: 2

Fadila Nejma, Echourouk, June 14, Algiers

Adel Zerrouk, Al-Rai, June 14, Algiers: Both killed while covering mass anti-government protests organized by Berber community

Bolivia: 1

Juan Carlos Encinas, free-lancer, July 29, Catavi: Shot when caught in a fight between two mining cooperatives that were vying for control of a lime-stone quarry outside the city.

Columbia: 1

Flavio Bedoya, Voz, April 27, Tumaco: Shot and killed after publishing a series of highly critical reports about collusion between security forces and right-wing paramilitary gangs.

Costa Rica: 1

Parmenio Medina Perez, "La Patada," July 7, San Jose: Shot three times at close range; his radio program often denounced official corruption and earned him numerous threats.

France: 1

Nicolas Giudici, Nice-Matin, June 17, Corsica: Shot in the head and dumped in a river; he frequently covered separatist movements on the French island of Corsica as a reporter for the regional newspaper.

Mexico: 1

Jose Luis Ortega Mata, Semanario de Ojinaga, Feb. 19, Ojinaga: Shot twice in the head at close range; he had written a front-page story about drug trafficking.

Northern Ireland: 1

Martin O'Hagan, Sunday World, Sept. 28, Lurgan: A Catholic, shot several times from a passing car.

Philippines: 2

Roland Ureta, Radio dyKR, Jan. 3, Mindanao: Gunned down, apparently as a result of his radio commentaries, which included pieces about local government corruption and police involvement in the drug trade.

Candelario Cayona, Radio DXLL, May 30, Zamboanga City: Ambushed. He was a radio commentator who often criticized local politicians, the military, and Muslim separatist guerrillas.

Thailand: 1

Withayut Sangsopit, free-lancer, April 10, Surat Thani: Shot five times, apparently as a result of reporting on irregularities involving a 50 million baht ($1.1 million U.S.) real estate deal for a municipal garbage dump.

United States: 1

William Biggart, free-lancer, Sept. 11, New York City: Killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center; his body was found on Sept. 15 in the rubble at ground zero near the bodies of several firefighters.

Yugoslavia: 2

Kerem Lawton, Associated Press Television News, March 29, Kosovo: Died from shrapnel wounds sustained when an artillery shell struck his car; he was covering the deployment of NATO-led peacekeeping forces as the Macedonian army launched an offensive against Albanian insurgents.

Milan Pantic, Vecernje Novosti, June 11, Jagodina: Struck on the head and beaten; he reported extensively on criminal affairs, including corruption in local companies.

MOTIVE UNCONFIRMED

Angola: 1

Alegria Gustavo, Radio Nacional de Angola (RNA), July 8,. Huambo: Fatally shot by a provincial vice administrator.

Brazil: 1

Mario Coelho de Almeida Filho, A Verdade, Aug. 16, Mage: Gunned down the day before he was to testify in a criminal defamation lawsuit brought against him by the local mayor.

Colombia: 7

Carlos Alberto Trespalacios Yali, former sports reporter, April 30, Medellin: Fatally shot by unidentified attackers; he was chief information officer for Medellin's Sports and Recreation Institute and had worked in public relations for the Medellin mayor.

Yesid Marulanda Romero, Telepacifico, May 3, Cali: Killed by six shots fired to the head. The police did not comment on possible motives.

Pablo Emilio Parra Castaneda, Planadas Cultural Estereo, June 27, Bogota: Murdered by two shots to the head; he was founder and head of the community radio station.

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