CPJ: Iraq Still “Deadliest Nation For Press”

Forty-one journalists were killed worldwide “in direct connection to their work” in 2008, according to The Committee to Protect Journalists. This is down from last year’s 65 killed, a decrease “largely attributable to Iraq, where deaths dropped from a record 32 in both 2007 and 2006” to 11 in 2008 (though Iraq remains the “deadliest country in the world for the press” as it has been since 2003). More:

In interviews with CPJ, journalists and analysts pointed to a variety of factors [for the drop in deaths in Iraq]: the increase in U.S. troop levels that began in 2007; the turning of Sunni tribal leaders against al-Qaeda and other foreign fighters in Anbar province and elsewhere in western Iraq; a cease-fire declared by independent Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr against U.S.-led coalition forces; and the consolidation of sectarian control of neighborhoods. A declining Western media presence also contributed to the drop in deaths in Iraq, journalists told CPJ…

All of those killed in Iraq were local journalists working for domestic news outlets.


The 2008 death toll reflected a shift in global hot spots, as high numbers of deaths were reported in restive areas of Asia and the Caucasus. Conflicts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and India together claimed the lives of 13 journalists, CPJ found…

More than 90 percent of those killed were local journalists…

On CPJ’s blog, Iraqi reporter Bassam Sebti ponders the report:

Iraqi journalists are not fearful—as they never were. They will go on and take part in rebuilding their country with their pens and notebooks.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.