Research by the Committee to Protect Journalists indicates that thefollowing individuals have been killed in 2003 because of their work asjournalists. They either died in the line of duty or were deliberatelytargeted for assassination because of their reporting or theiraffiliation with a news organization.
MOTIVES CONFIRMED :36
Nicanor Linhares Batista, Rádio Vale doJaguaribe, June 30, 2003, Limoeiro do Norte Nicanor, radio host andowner of Rádio Vale do Jaguaribe, based in the city of Limoeiro do Nortein the northeastern state of Ceará, was killed by at least twounidentified gunmen while he was recording his daily show “EncontroPolítico” (Political Encounter) at his station’s studios. O Povo, adaily in the city of Fortaleza, reported that “Encontro Político” wasone of the most popular radio shows in the region. According to O Povo,Nicanor was considered a controversial journalist whose hard-hittingcommentaries had angered many local politicians and public officials.According to the news agency Agência Nordeste, police said thatNicanor’s murder may have been a contract killing, and that thejournalist had many enemies because of the critical reports that airedon his station.
Luiz Antônio da Costa, época, July 23, 2003, São Bernardo doCampo Da Costa, a photographer with the weekly época, was killed whileon assignment in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo State. The36-year-old photographer, who was known professionally as La Costa, andépoca reporter Alexandre Mansur were covering the occupation by homelessfamilies of an empty lot belonging to a Volkswagen auto factory in SãoBernardo do Campo. The homeless families, who numbered in the thousandsand had been organized by the Movement of Homeless Workers (MTST), hadbeen camping at the site since July 19 to demand housing and jobs fromthe state and federal governments. While MTST leaders were talking tothe journalists, three men who had just robbed a nearby gas stationentered the campsite brandishing handguns. One of them shot da Costa inthe chest at close range. The journalist was then taken to the SãoBernardo Municipal Hospital but died shortly after.
Chou Chetharith, Ta Prum, Oct. 18, 2003, PhnomPenh Chetharith, a deputy editor of the royalist FUNCINPEC party’s TaPrum radio station, was killed by a gunman riding on the back of amotorcycle while the journalist was on his way to work in the capital,Phnom Penh. According to witnesses interviewed by Agence France-Presse,Chetharith, 37, was shot in the head at point-blank range in broaddaylight. Local sources tell CPJ that Ta Prum is known for its criticalreporting of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and that the station’sdirector, Noranarith Anandayath, is an adviser to FUNCINPEC party chiefPrince Norodom Ranaridhh. The day before the shooting, the primeminister criticized Ta Prum in the English-language Cambodia Times,accusing the station of insulting his leadership. In early December,Police Commissioner Heng Pov told the Cambodian Center for Human Rights(CCHR) that although police have identified possible suspects inChetarith’s murder, they do not have enough evidence to make anyarrests. The CCHR conducted an in-depth investigation into the killingand concluded that Chetarith was killed because of his work as ajournalist.
Luis Eduardo Alfonso Parada, Radio Meridiano-70,March 18, 2003, Arauca Alfonso, a 33-year-old radio news host, was shotto death by two gunmen in the town of Arauca, near the Venezuelanborder, while he tried to enter his office at Radio Meridiano-70. Thejournalist, who had been threatened previously by members of aright-wing paramilitary army, was also a freelance reporter forColombia’s most widely read daily, El Tiempo. In November 2002,Alfonso’s name was one of about 100 that appeared on a list distributedin the town of Arauca by paramilitary fighters, who threatened to killthe people on the list unless they “reformed,” said Meléndez.
Guillermo Bravo Vega, Alpevisión Radio, April 28, 2003, NeivaBravo, a 65-year-old investigative journalist with the regionalAlpevisión Radio, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman who sneakedinto his house in the southern town of Neiva, Huila Department. As ofDecember, authorities had not made any arrests in the case, according toDelgado. Bravo, who directed the morning television program “Hechos ycifras” (Facts and Figures) for Alpevisión, had frequently accusedmunicipal and departmental government officials of mishandling publicfunds. Bravo also published an occasional newsletter focused oneconomics and finance called Eco Impacto. Authorities, who believe thatBravo may have been assassinated for denouncing public officials on hisprogram, are investigating reports that he was killed by a professionalassassin hired by government officials, said Pedro Moreno, director ofintelligence for the Administrative Department for Security in Huila.
Jaime Rengifo Revero, Olímpica Radio, April 29, 2003, MaicaoRengifo, a 48-year-old host for Radio Olímpica, was shot dead by anunidentified gunman in the hallway of a hotel where the journalist livedin the northern town of Maicao, La Guajira Department, authoritiesreported. As of December, authorities had not made any arrests, statepolice chief Col. Heriberto Naranjo told CPJ. Officials continue toinvestigate reports that Rengifo was killed for comments made during hisweekly morning program on Radio Olímpica, “Periodistas en acción”(Journalists in action). Rengifo frequently criticized state securityforces for failing to bring security to the region and also accusedlocal politicians of corruption, said James Vargas, the station’sproduction director.
Juan Carlos Benavides Arévalo, Manantial Estéreo, Aug. 22, 2003,Puerto Caicedo Benavides, a 29-year-old host for the community radiostation Manantial Estéreo, was shot dead when the vehicle in which hewas traveling was fired on at a checkpoint reportedly guarded by membersof the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) near the town ofPuerto Caicedo, in southern Colombia. Benavides died after being shotwhen his driver decided to elude the checkpoint. The journalist hostedthe morning radio program “Panorama Informativo” (News Outlook) onManantial Estéreo, which is run by the Roman Catholic Diocese ofPutumayo Department, in the town of Sibundoy. Also in the car was JaimeConrado Juajibioy Cuarán, 24, who worked on Benavides’ program.Juajibioy was seriously injured in the attack. According to local pressreports, the rebels who shot at the vehicle were FARC members. However,government forces, right-wing paramilitary militias, and drug lords – inaddition to the FARC – are also known to control checkpoints in theregion.
Héctor Ramírez, Noti 7 and Radio Sonora, July 24,2003, Guatemala City Ramírez, a reporter for Guatemala’s Noti 7television station and Radio Sonora, died from a heart attack afterfleeing from attackers who were beating him while he was coveringprotests in the capital, Guatemala City, according to autopsy results.On July 24, riots erupted across Guatemala City after the SupremeCourt’s July 20 decision granting two opposition parties an injunctiontemporarily barring former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt from running forpresident in the Nov. 9 elections. A later ruling allowed Ríos Montt torun in the poll, which he lost. Supporters of Ríos Montt’s politicalparty, the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), attacked other journalistsin different areas of the capital, sources told CPJ.
Parvaz Mohammed Sultan, News and Feature Alliance,Jan. 31, 2003, Srinagar Sultan, editor of the independent newswireservice News and Feature Alliance (NAFA), which is based in Srinagar,the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir State, was shot dead by anunidentified gunman. Sultan, 36, was known as an independent journalistwho had worked for several local Urdu-language dailies during hiscareer. In addition to running NAFA, he contributed investigativestories and columns to the Urdu-language newspaper Chattan,one of theoldest newspapers in Kashmir. Journalists working in the disputedterritory of Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim, have longbeen vulnerable to attack by various parties to the conflict.
Ersa Siregar, Rajawali Citra Televisi, Dec. 29,2003, Aceh Siregar, a senior reporter with private Indonesian channelRajawali Citra Televisi (RCTI), was shot and killed during a gun battlebetween Indonesian military forces and separatist rebels in the war-tornAceh Province, according to RCTI chief editor Derek Manangka. Accordingto news reports, the rebels accused the military of executing Siregar.In response, the military has claimed that the rebels were using thejournalist as a human shield. Siregar, 52, was kidnapped on June 29 byrebels from the Free Aceh Movement, known by its Indonesian acronym GAM,along with cameraman Ferry Santoro, their driver, and two Indonesianofficers’ wives who were sharing a ride with the journalists to the townof Lhokseumawe in northern Aceh. On Nov. 5, Indonesian security ministerSusilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered the military to start an operation tolocate the hostages. On Dec. 19, the driver was released unharmed. RCTIcameraman Ferry Santoro and the two officers’ wives are still missing.
Zahra Kazemi, freelance, July 10, 2003, Tehran Kazemi,an Iranian-Canadian freelance photographer, died in Tehran’sBaghiatollah Hospital after being transferred from government custody.Kazemi, a contributor to the Montreal-based magazine Recto Verso and theLondon-based photo agency Camera Press, was detained on June 23 whiletaking photographs of the families of detainees outside Tehran’s EvinPrison. She was held for nearly two weeks before being transferred tothe hospital in a coma. During subsequent weeks, officials tried tocover up the circumstances of Kazemi’s death. A government inquiryreleased in late July concluded that Kazemi died as a result of a skullfracture likely caused by a blow to her head. Authorities prevented anautopsy by burying Kazemi’s body in Iran against the wishes of herfamily in Canada. The Canadian government responded by withdrawing itsambassador to Tehran. In the ensuing months, several agents from theIntelligence Ministry were arrested in connection with Kazemi’s death,but as of early November, only one remained in jail – Mohammed RezaAghdam Ahmadi. His trial was ongoing at year’s end.
Terry Lloyd, ITV News, March 22, 2003, near Al-ZubayrLloyd, a veteran correspondent with ITV News, was confirmed dead onMarch 23 by the British TV network ITN, which produces ITV News. Theprevious day, he had disappeared after coming under fire while drivingto the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Two others disappeared with Lloyd,cameraman Fred Nerac and translator Hussein Othman. They remain missing.The three men, along with cameraman Daniel Demoustier, were traveling intwo marked press vehicles in the town of Iman Anas, near Al-Zubayr, whenthey came under fire, ITN reported. According to Demoustier, the car heand Lloyd had been driving had been pursued by Iraqi troops who may havebeen attempting to surrender to the journalists. Demoustier reportedthat the incoming fire to their vehicles likely came from U.S. orBritish forces in the area. An investigative article published in TheWall Street Journal in May indicated that Lloyd’s SUV and anothervehicle belonging to his colleagues came under fire from U.S. Marines.The article cited accounts from U.S. troops who recalled opening fire oncars marked “TV.” Soldiers also said they believed that Iraqi suicidebombers were using the cars to attack U.S. troops.
Paul Moran, freelance, March 22, 2003, Gerdigo Moran, afree-lance cameraman on assignment for the Australian BroadcastingCorporation (ABC), was killed in a suicide bombing when a man detonateda car at a checkpoint in northeastern Iraq. Another Australianjournalist, ABC correspondent Eric Campbell, was injured in theincident. Most of the other journalists had just left the scene. Moran,who was filming at the time, was standing only a few feet from thecheckpoint and was killed immediately. Campbell was injured by shrapnel.Chua-Eoan said it appeared that the bomber was targeting soldierscontrolling the checkpoint, not the journalists. According to TheAssociated Press, at least four other people were killed in the bombing.Militants from Ansar al-Islam are believed to be responsible for theattack.
Kaveh Golestan, freelance, April 2, 2003, Kifri Golestan, anIranian freelance cameraman on assignment for the BBC, was killed innorthern Iraq after stepping on a land mine, the BBC confirmed. Golestanaccidentally detonated the mine when he exited his car near the town ofKifri, John Morrissey of the BBC’s foreign desk told CPJ. The cameramanwas traveling as part of a four-person BBC crew that included Tehran,Iran, bureau chief Jim Muir; producer Stuart Hughes; and translatorRabeen Azad. Hughes’ foot was injured and later treated by U.S. militarymedics. Muir and the translator suffered light cuts, Morrissey said.
Michael Kelly, Atlantic Monthly and The Washington Post, April 3,2003, outside of Baghdad Kelly, editor-at-large of the Atlantic Monthlyand a columnist with The Washington Post, was killed while travelingwith the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division just south of the Baghdadairport, according to a statement from The Washington Post . Accordingto press reports, when the humvee in which Kelly was riding came underIraqi fire, the soldier driving the vehicle tried to evade the attack,and the jeep ran off the road and rolled into a canal. Both Kelly andthe driver drowned. Kelly, who had previously served as the editor ofThe New Republic and the National Journal, was the first U.S. journalistkilled while covering the war.
Christian Liebig, Focus, April 7, 2003, outside Baghdad Liebig, areporter for the German weekly magazine Focus, died in an Iraqi missileattack while accompanying the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division south ofthe capital, Baghdad. Both Liebig and Julio Anguita Parrado, a Spanishjournalist also killed in the incident, were embedded with the division,according to Agence France-Presse.
Julio Anguita Parrado, El Mundo, April 7, 2003, outside BaghdadParrado, a correspondent for the Spanish daily El Mundo, died in anIraqi missile attack while accompanying the U.S. Army’s 3rd InfantryDivision south of the capital, Baghdad. Both Parrado and ChristianLiebig, a German journalist for Focus magazine who was also killed inthe incident, were embedded with the division, according to AgenceFrance-Presse.
Tareq Ayyoub, Al-Jazeera, April 8, 2003, Baghdad Ayyoub, aJordanian national working with the Qatar-based satellite channelAl-Jazeera, was killed when a U.S. missile struck the station’s Baghdadbureau, which was located in a two-story villa in a residential areanear the Iraqi Information Ministry and the former presidential palacecompound of Saddam Hussein. Al-Jazeera cameraman Zouhair Nadhim, who wasoutside on the building’s roof with Ayyoub, was injured in the blast,which targeted a small electric generator outside the building. Centcommaintains that U.S. forces were responding to enemy fire in the area andthat the Al-Jazeera journalists were caught in the crossfire. Al-Jazeeracorrespondents deny that any fire came from their building. The attackoccurred during heavy fighting around the bureau in an area that housedgovernment buildings targeted by U.S. and coalition forces. Al-Jazeeraofficials pointed out that the U.S. military had been given the bureau’sexact coordinates weeks before the war began. In its April 8 letter toU.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld CPJ noted that, “The attackagainst Al-Jazeera is of particular concern since the stations’ officeswere also hit in Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2001. The Pentagonasserted, without providing additional detail, that the office was a‘known Al-Qaeda facility,’ and that the U.S. military did not know thespace was being used by Al-Jazeera.” CPJ is still waiting for theDefense Department to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act requestrelated to the incident that CPJ filed in May.
José Couso, Telecinco, April 8, 2003, Baghdad Couso, a cameramanfor the Spanish television station Telecinco, died after a U.S. tankfired a shell at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, wheremost journalists in the city were based during the war. A shell hit twohotel balconies where several journalists were monitoring a battle inthe vicinity. Taras Protsyuk, a Ukranian cameraman for Reuters, was alsokilled in the attack Agence France-Presse reported that Couso was hit inhis jaw and right leg. He was taken to Saint Raphael Hospital, where hedied during surgery. Directly after the attack, Maj. Gen. Buford Blount,commander of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, confirmed that asingle shell had been fired at the hotel from a tank in response to whathe said was rocket and small arms fire from the building. Journalists atthe hotel deny that any gunfire had emanated from the building. A CPJreport concluded that the shelling of the hotel, while not deliberate,was avoidable since U.S. commanders knew that journalists were presentin the hotel and were intent on not hitting it. The report called on thePentagon to conduct a thorough and public investigation into theincident.
Taras Protsyuk, Reuters, April 8, 2003, Baghdad Protsyuk, acameraman for Reuters, died after a U.S. tank fired a shell at thePalestine Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, where most journalists inthe city were based during the war. José Couso, a cameraman for theSpanish television station Telecinco, also died in the attack. AgenceFrance-Presse reported that Protsyuk died of wounds to his head andstomach. He had worked for Reuters since 1993, covering conflicts inBosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, and Afghanistan.
Richard Wild, freelance, July 5, 2003, Baghdad Wild, a24-year-old British freelance cameraman who was working in Baghdad, diedafter an unidentified assailant approached him and shot him in the headat close range on a street near the city’s Natural History Museum. Wild,who had previously worked at Britain’s ITN as a picture researcher, wentto Iraq with aspirations of being a war reporter. Some press reportsstated that Wild was not carrying a camera or wearing any clothing thatwould have identified him as a journalist at the time of the shooting.One of Wild’s colleagues in Baghdad, British TV producer Michael Burke,told newspapers that Wild was working on a story about looting at themuseum. While some speculated that he may have been mistaken for amember of the U.S. military, the motive for the murder remains unclear.
Jeremy Little, NBC News, July 6, 2003, Fallujah Little, anAustralian freelance soundman working for the U.S.-based televisionnetwork NBC, was injured in a grenade attack in the Iraqi town ofFallujah on June 29 while embedded with U.S. troops. He died of“post-operative complications,” according to a statement from NBC News.Little, 27, was embedded with the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division for NBCNews and had been receiving treatment at a military hospital in Germany.
Mazen Dana, Reuters, Aug. 17, 2003, outside Baghdad Dana, aveteran conflict cameraman for Reuters news agency, was killed bymachine gun fire from a U.S. tank near the capital, Baghdad. Dana wasstruck while filming near Abu Ghraib Prison, outside Baghdad. He hadbeen reporting with a colleague near the prison after a mortar attackhad killed six Iraqis there the previous night. The soldier in the tankwho fired on Dana did so without warning, while the journalist filmedthe vehicle approaching him from about 55 yards (50 meters). U.S.military officials said the soldier who opened fire mistook Dana’scamera for a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher. There was nofighting taking place in the area, and the journalists had beenoperating in the vicinity of the prison with the knowledge of U.S.troops near the prison gates. In an Aug. 18 letter to U.S. Secretary ofDefense Donald H. Rumsfeld, CPJ protested the shooting, stating that itraised “serious questions about the conduct of U.S. troops and theirrules of engagement.” On Sept. 22, the U.S. military announced that ithad concluded its investigation into the incident. A spokesman for U.S.Central Command (Centcom) in Iraq told CPJ that while Dana’s killing was“regrettable,” the soldier “acted within the rules of engagement.” Nofurther details were provided. The results of the investigation have notbeen made public. A Centcom spokesman said other details of the reportare classified.
Ahmed Shawkat, Bilah Ittijah, Oct. 28, 2003, Mosul Shawkat,editor of the weekly Bilah Ittijah (Without Direction), was shot andkilled by one or more gunmen at his office in Mosul. According to pressreports, a gunman and an accomplice followed the journalist to the roofof his office. One local journalist told CPJ that Shawkat was on theroof making a call from his satellite telephone when he was shot.
ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES: 2
Nazih Darwazeh,Associated Press Television News, April 19, 2003, Nablus Darwazeh, acameraman for The Associated Press Television News (APTN), was shot andkilled by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Nablus while filmingclashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli troops, according toPalestinian journalists who witnessed the incident. The shootingoccurred after clashes erupted in Nablus when Israeli forces entered thecity’s downtown area in tanks, searching for an alleged Palestiniansuicide bomber. Clashes broke out in several locations near the city’scenter, involving youths throwing stones and Molotov cocktails atIsraeli troops. At the time that Darwazeh was shot, he had been filmingan Israeli tank stranded at the corner of an alleyway. Otherphotographers who were standing near Darwazeh said an Israeli soldiercrouched under the tank and quickly fired a single shot at thejournalists from a distance of about 11 to 22 yards (10 or 20 meters).Darwazeh was struck in the back of the head and died instantly.
James Miller, freelance, May 2, 2003, Rafah Miller, a Britishfreelance cameraman and film director with U.K.-based Frostbite Films,was fatally shot in the Gaza Strip. An award-winning documentaryfilmmaker, the journalist was with a crew in the town of Rafah insouthern Gaza near the Egyptian border filming an HBO documentary on theIsraeli-Palestinian conflict. That evening, he and his four-person crewwere in a Palestinian home filming the army’s demolition of houses inthe area that the Israeli army alleged contained tunnels used to smugglearms. According to published testimonies of eyewitnesses and anAssociated Press Television News cameraman who was filming in the samehouse, the incident occurred when the group attempted to identifythemselves to the Israeli troops in the area while they were leaving.The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops were in armored personnelcarriers (APCs) about 330 feet (100 meters) away from the house wherethe journalists had been filming. The journalists were wearing jacketsand helmets marked “TV.” A translator waved a white flag while Millerused a flashlight to illuminate the flag. As they approached the APCs,the journalists shouted “Hello,” and then a shot was fired. Thejournalists yelled that they were British journalists, and a second shotwas fired immediately after. In video footage of the incident, itappears that that the second shot hit Miller, who was struck in theneck. Several more shots followed.