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CPJ says 2009 sees highest recorded number of work-related journalist deaths

This year was the single deadliest year for journalists around the world ever documented by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ); however, no journalists were killed in the United States this year.

An analysis of 2009 released Dec. 17 reveals 68 journalists worldwide have been killed so far this year, including 30 who died in an election-related killing incident in a Philippine province. The previous high for the number of journalists killed was 67, recorded in 2007. The CPJ started its tally of journalists killed annually in 1992.

The CPJ continues to investigate the deaths this year of 20 other journalists to determine whether their deaths were work-related.

According to the group’s analysis, 50 journalists were murdered in retaliation for their reporting, 11 died in crossfire while covering battles and seven died covering events such as street protests and police raids.

The group’s analysis revealed:

  • The number of journalists killed this year is 60 percent higher than last year’s total of 42 deaths.
  • Fifty-six percent of those killed were print journalists.
  • Sixty-five percent of the journalists killed worked for local news organizations.
  • Nine percent of those killed were freelancers.

According to the committee, strict criteria are used to determine whether a death is work-related. Journalists killed under circumstances that the CPJ cannot verify were work-related are placed into an “unconfirmed” category, while the committee continues its investigation to determine the motive behind the killing. The group will release this year’s final tally in January 2010.