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Iraq War the Deadliest for Journalists Since World War II

It may not seem possible, but the U.S.-led war in Iraq has been the deadliest combat assignment for reporters since World War II, the group Reporters Without Borders announced yesterday.

In a troubling 13-page report, the group said 230 members of the media have been killed in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion by U.S. troops. The number exceeds the number of reporters killed in the Vietnam War, making Iraq the deadliest war for journalists since World War II.

In its report, Reporters Without Borders, also known as RWB, surveyed the environment for journalists working in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion through mid-August when the last combat brigade withdrew from the country.


The group said that although the invasion led to the fall of Saddam Hussein and the Baathist regime and ushered in a new era for the Iraqi media, the death toll from the war was "nothing short of disastrous."

The report found that at least 30 journalists were arrested by U.S. forces from March 2003 and August 2010. More than 93 were abducted during the war and Iraq at one time was the largest market for hostages in the world, the group said.

Virtually every major American news organization has sent a reporter to Iraq and/or Afghanistan at one point or another during this war. Perhaps the most well-known journalist to die covering this war was Daniel Pearl, a correspondent with the Wall Street Journal who was kidnapped and killed by terrorists. He wasn't actually killed in Iraq. he was in Pakistan as part of an investigation into the alleged links between Richard Reid (the "shoe bomber") and Al Qaeda. He was subsequently beheaded by his captors.

And the violence against reporters hasn't ended. Riyad Assariyeh, a journalist working with the Arab news station al-Arabiya, was killed as he left his home Tuesday in Baghdad. Reporters Without Borders told UPI it would be "deplorable" if his killers were to go unpunished.

Reporters Without Borders states that it draws its inspiration from Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to which everyone has "the right to freedom of opinion and expression" and also the right to "seek, receive and impart" information and ideas "regardless of frontiers." This has been re-affirmed by several charters and declarations around the world.


An article by John Cherian in the leftist Indian magazine Frontline alleged that RWB "is reputed to have strong links with Western intelligence agencies" and "Cuba has accused Robert Meynard, the head of the group, of having CIA links". The organization has denied the allegations.