What price for information?

Being a journalist, even in so-called “democracies”, can be a deadly business:

The number of journalists and other media workers killed as they carried out their jobs across the globe fell to 70 last year, according to figures released today by the World Association of Newspapers.

Global media fatalities in 2008 were down from the 95 killed across the world in 2007, when 44 were killed in Iraq alone. According to WAN, the number of media fatalities in Iraq fell to 14 last year.

However, Iraq remained the most dangerous country for journalists despite the number of those killed in several other countries increasing. In total, journalists and other media workers were killed in 23 countries in 2008, WAN said.

India and Pakistan were the second deadliest countries after Iraq with seven killed in each, compared with zero and seven fatalities respectively during 2007.

Six journalists were killed in the Philippines last year, and five journalists murdered in Mexico, where WAN said journalists are increasingly being targeted for their reporting on organised crime.

Four journalists were killed in both Russia and Thailand last year, with three murdered in Georgia, which was invaded by Russian troops last summer.

Journalists in Russia have been on permanently high-alert after the murder of Novaya Gazeta special correspondent Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow in 2006. A second journalist for that newspaper was killed last month.

Afghanistan, Croatia, Nepal, Somalia and Sri Lanka each saw two deaths of media workers last year.

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