34 journalists killed in 2008
- 34 journalists killed in 2008
The following individuals have been killed in 2008 because of their work as journalists. They either died in the line of duty or were deliberately targeted for assassination because of their reporting or their affiliation with a news organization.
See list of pending investigations into suspicious deaths, called Killed: Motive Unconfirmed.
See the list of Journalists Who Disappeared.
See the list of Media Workers Killed.
Total Confirmed Cases For 2008: 34
Carsten Thomassen, Dagbladet
January 15, 2008, Kabul
Thomassen, a 38-year-old Norwegian who worked for the Oslo daily Dagbladet, was among eight people who died in a coordinated suicide bomb attack by three men at Kabul 's Serena Hotel , a gathering place for much of the country's expatriate community.
The attack came during a visit by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who was in the hotel but was uninjured. Four hotel guards, a U.S. national, an Afghan guest, and a Philippine spa director also died in the attack, according to news reports. Two of the bombers died as well.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Støre was the intended target. The Norwegian government held that Støre was not specifically targeted and that the attack was aimed at the country's foreign community at large. About 500 Norwegian troops are taking part in the NATO-led international force in Afghanistan , and Norwegian press reports said there were plans to raise that number to more than 700 in 2008.
The day after the attack, Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh told a press conference that three Taliban militants wearing suicide jackets filled with explosives ran onto the hotel grounds. The jacket of one assailant exploded after he was shot by a hotel guard outside the building. A second assailant detonated his explosives inside the hotel; the third was arrested later.
Carlos Quispe Quispe, Radio Municipal
March 29, 2008, Pucarani
Quispe, a journalist working for a government-run radio station in Pucarani, died March 29 after being severely beaten two days earlier by protesters demanding the ouster of the local mayor.
On the afternoon of March 27, at least 150 protesters rallied outside the government building in Pucarani, a small city about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the capital, La Paz , and called for the ouster of Mayor Alejandro Mamani. The mayor had been accused of corruption, according to local press reports and CPJ interviews. The protesters forced their way into the municipal building and broke down the door to the government-run Radio Municipal. Witnesses told radio station Onda Local that demonstrators destroyed station equipment and identified Quispe as "the mouth on the radio."
Protestors wielding whips and metal rods beat Quispe in the head and chest, said an official from the mayor's office who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity. Quispe, a journalism student at La Paz 's Universidad Mayor de San Andrés who had worked as an intern at Radio Municipal for three months, was taken to a clinic in Pucarani and later to a hospital in La Paz , according to reports in the Bolivian press. Quispe died on March 29 from unspecified complications, the Spanish news service EFE reported.
Radio Municipal, the only radio station in Pucarani, provided government information and community news, according to Bolivian journalists. Quispe delivered a daily noontime news report, Juan Javier Zeballos, executive director of the National Press Association, told CPJ. Quispe also hosted a nightly music program and often interviewed Mamani, who talked about government projects and fielded questions from listeners.
Wilson Arteaga, a reporter for Onda Local who traveled to Pucarani to investigate the incident, told CPJ that the Radio Municipal's facilities were destroyed. Local police did not return CPJ's messages seeking comment.
Khem Sambo, Moneaseka Khmer
July 11, 2008, Phnom Penh
A journalist with the opposition-aligned Khmer-language daily Moneaseka Khmer, Khem Sambo was shot twice while riding his motorcycle with his 21-year-old son on July 11 in the capital, according to international and local news reports. He died later in the hospital. His son was also shot and killed. The gunmen were on a motorcycle and sped away after the shooting, news reports said.
Moneaseka Khmer is affiliated with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, and Sambo was among the publication' s most hard-hitting reporters. An analysis of Sambo's reporting in the weeks before his murder, compiled by the Cambodian League for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights and reviewed by CPJ, found a steady stream of critical reporting on Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodia 's People's Party.
Sambo's most recent reports, written either under the pseudonyms Srey Ka or Den Sorin, touched on allegations of government corruption, internal rifts inside the ruling party, and questions about the distribution of benefits from recent rapid Chinese investment in the country. Moneaseka Khmer is one of only a handful of consistently critical publications in Cambodia ; the broadcast media all report unswervingly in the ruling party's favor.
Moneaseka Khmer's editor-in-chief, Dam Sith, faced defamation and disinformation charges filed by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong for a story published in the newspaper quoting a speech by opposition politician Sam Rainsy that was highly critical of several government officials. His trial was pending in late year. Sith called the attack on Sambo "the gravest threat" to the publication, according to The Associated Press.
Cambodian police officials say they had not identified a motive or suspects in the murder, which occurred during the run-up to general elections on July 27.
Ivo Pukanic, Nacional
October 23, 2008, Zagreb
Pukanic, owner and editorial director of the Zagreb-based political weekly Nacional, and Niko Franjic, the marketing director, were killed when a bomb placed under the journalist's car exploded outside the paper's offices, according to press reports and CPJ sources. Local press reports said Pukanic and Franjic were close to the car when the blast took place. Nacional often exposed corruption, organized crime, and human rights abuses, local sources told CPJ.
Croatian authorities moved swiftly to pursue the killers. On October 24, The Associated Press quoted Prime Minister Ivo Sanader as saying that authorities "will fight organized crime or terrorism--whatever is behind this murder--to its very end." On November 1, Croatian police announced that they had charged five suspects in connection with the murder.
In addition, police spokesman Krunoslav Borovec said investigators were working with Bosnian authorities to track down the suspect they believe planted the bomb. Local press reports identified the suspect as Zeljko Milovanovic, a Bosnian Serb and former member of a Serbian paramilitary group called the Red Berets. He held both Croatian and Bosnian passports, according to the independent Serbian broadcaster B92. According to Reuters, Bosnian police raided Milovanovic' s house in the northern Bosnian town of Doboj on October 31, but he was not at home.
Pukanic had reported an earlier attack to police. In April, he told police, an identified assailant approached him near his apartment house, brandished a handgun and fired, narrowly missing him, the Croatian news Web site Javno reported. The assailant was not apprehended.
Alexander Klimchuk, freelance, Caucasus Images
Grigol Chikhladze, freelance, Caucasus Images
August 10, 2008, Tskhinvali
Klimchuk, 27, and Chikhladze, 30, were killed in South Ossetia on August 10 when they tried to enter the regional capital, Tskhinvali, according to news reports and CPJ interviews.
Russian press reports said Klimchuk, head of the Tbilisi-based Caucasus Images photo agency, was on assignment for the Russian Itar-Tass news agency. Chikhladze, a freelancer and member of the agency, was covering the conflict for Russian Newsweek. The two journalists had freelanced for a number of Russian and international news agencies.
The Russian business daily Kommersant, citing information from Caucasus Images, said the journalists were killed by South Ossetian militia. Kommersant reported that Klimchuk, Chikhladze, and two other reporters-- U.S. journalist Winston Featherly and Georgian colleague Temuri Kiguradze of the Tbilisi-based English language newspaper The Messenger--were trying to avoid a roadblock set up by South Ossetian militia when they saw a group of armed men.
The journalists reportedly could not identify whether the armed men were Georgian soldiers or South Ossetian militiamen because it was dark; Klimchuk greeted them in Georgian and the armed men started shooting, Kommersant reported. Klimchuk and Chikhladze died at the scene, while Featherly and Kiguradze were hospitalized with wounds.
Stan Storimans, RTL Nieuws
August 12, 2008, Gori
Storimans, a 39-year-old Dutch cameraman who worked for the Hilversum-based television channel RTL Nieuws, was killed in an attack in the central Georgian city of Gori . His colleague, reporter Jeroen Akkermans, suffered shrapnel wounds to his leg and was hospitalized in a Tbilisi clinic, Jaspir Teijsse, a spokesman for RTL Nieuws, told CPJ.
Storimans and Akkermans had traveled from Tbilisi to Gori early on August 12 to report on overnight strikes by Russian forces, Teijsse said. The reporters were with five others in Gori's town square when they were struck by the blast at about 8:30 a.m.
A Dutch government probe found that a Russian cluster bomb was the source of the attack, prompting protests from that country's foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, according to international press reports. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs disputed the finding.
Ashok Sodhi, Daily Excelsior
May 11, 2008, Samba
Sodhi, a senior photographer with the local English-language Daily Excelsior in Indian-controlled Kashmir , was killed in crossfire in Samba, close to the border with Pakistan , according to news reports.
The gunfire took place when suspected militants exchanged shots with security forces from a house where they held several hostages, according to the BBC. Three militants, one soldier, and three other civilians were killed in the gun battle, which lasted several hours, the BBC reported.
Sodhi got his start as a print journalist before becoming a photographer, eventually rising to the position of chief photographer at his newspaper, according to an obituary posted on the citizen journalism Web site Merinews.
The violence was the worst reported in the volatile region since 2002, according to local news reports. Police said militants crossing the border from Pakistan were suspected in the attack, according to the reports.
Separatist groups disputing Indian rule of Kashmir have led an often violent insurgency for nearly two decades in the quest for independence or union with Pakistan . Twelve journalists, including Sodhi, have been killed in the region since the conflict escalated into civil war in 1989, CPJ research shows.
Javed Ahmed Mir, Channel 9
August 13, 2008, Srinagar
Security forces shot and killed Javed Ahmed Mir while he was covering protests during a spate of violence in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir , according to the BBC and local journalists.
A BBC report said the cameraman, who had two other jobs to support his wife and three children, was called from a wedding to cover a growing protest rally on a main road in the state's summer capital, Srinagar, and was shot in the head while waiting for equipment to arrive from the news channel.
Local journalists told CPJ that he worked for the local news station, Channel 9. Amin War, a photographer for the local Daily Tribune, told CPJ by telephone from Srinagar that he witnessed the shooting. He said Mir was working at the time of his death, although he was not carrying a camera, and was among several killed or injured when security forces opened fire on the protesters.
The BBC report said that about 26 people were killed as police tried to restore order. A transfer of land to a Hindu shrine in June fueled protests in the unstable Muslim majority state, where separatist groups lead an often violent movement for independence for Kashmir , which is also claimed by Pakistan .
Alaa Abdul-Karin al-Fartoosi Al-Forat
January 29, Balad
Al-Fartoosi, a cameraman for satellite channel Al-Forat, and driver Alaa Aasi were killed by a roadside bomb as they entered the town of Balad, about 50 miles north of Baghdad, at around 6:15 p.m., according to the director of external relations for the channel, Mihssen Mohammad Hussein.
The cameraman and driver were traveling with correspondent Fatima al-Hassani and camera assistant Haidar Kathem when the device struck their car. The crew had just passed a second makeshift checkpoint to enter the town when the bomb exploded. Al-Hassani sustained broken bones in her legs and fractures to her knees and was being treated at a Baghdad hospital, Hussein told CPJ. Kathem sustained light injuries, he said.
Hussein said the crew was on assignment filming a documentary to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra , one of the holiest shrines for Shiites. The report intended to cover the political, security, and social life in Samarra since the attack.
Abbas al-Issawi, director-general of Al-Forat, told CPJ it was not clear whether the crew was deliberately targeted. Hussein said the channel was not aware of any official investigation of the incident.
The satellite channel, established in 2004, is backed by the powerful Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, a Shiite political party led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. Al-Fartoosi is survived by his wife and two children.
Shihab al-Tamimi, Iraqi Journalists Syndicate
February 27, 2008, Baghdad
Shihab al-Tamimi, head of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, died from injuries he sustained from a targeted shooting in Baghdad on February 23.
Jabbar Tarrad al-Shimmari, deputy head of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, told CPJ that al-Tamimi, 74, died from a stroke four days after the attack at 4 p.m. , after his condition rapidly deteriorated around noon . Al-Shimmari talked to family members who were with him at the hospital.
Unidentified gunmen in a white Opel intercepted and opened fire on a car carrying al-Tamimi, his son and driver, Rabie, and an unidentified colleague riding in the backseat. The three were on their way from the syndicate's headquarters to a meeting in Baghdad 's Al-Waziriya neighborhood, the journalist's nephew, Arfan Jalil Karim, told CPJ.
Al-Tamimi and his son, Rabie, were both shot several times and hospitalized, Karim told CPJ. Rabie al-Tamimi is recovering from his wounds. The third occupant was not injured, he said.
Al-Tamimi had received threats before. Al-Shimmari said that al-Tamimi received a threat in 2005 during which the caller told him he would be killed the following day. The journalist went into hiding for a month after that. About six months ago, al-Tamimi received calls both on his cell phone and land line threatening his life, according to Karim.
Al-Tamimi, who headed the syndicate since 2003, had been a critic of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and its continued presence there, according to Reuters. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Jassim al-Batat, Al-Nakhil TV and Radio
April 25, 2008, Basra
Al-Batat, a correspondent at Al-Nakhil TV and Radio, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen while walking in the town of Qurna , north of Basra .
"It was a Friday morning and al-Batat was walking in Al-Qurna market ... when four masked men shot him six times. He died in the spot where he was shot," station head Adnan al-Yasiri told CPJ. Yasiri said he believes that al-Batat was targeted because of his work for the station, which he said supported the government.
Al-Nakhil TV and Radio, which began broadcasting three months after the invasion in 2003, is affiliated with Iraqi Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council.
According to the station's office manager, Ali Hussien Juda, the station received an e-mail threat during May clashes in Basra between government forces and the Mehdi Army. He said the threat demanded that the station stop advocating for the government or the staff's families would be hurt.
A friend of the journalist who worked with Al-Fayhaa TV told CPJ that three weeks before his death, al-Batat expressed concern for his own safety because of his job at a "political TV station."
Sarwa Abdul-Wahab, freelance
May 4, 2008, Mosul
Abdul-Wahab, 36, a freelance journalist and contributor to the Muraslon news site, was shot and killed while resisting abduction in the Al-Bakr area of Mosul .
"We were going shopping when two men in a white car stopped and asked my daughter to get in the car, and when she refused, they started dragging and forcing her to ride in the car," said Amira Wasfi, the journalist's mother. "I was screaming and shouting to leave her alone. They hit me on my head with the end of a machine gun and I fell on the street." When Abdul-Wahab resisted, the men shot her in the leg and then in the head, the mother said.
"The neighbors were there watching, but nobody helped me save my daughter," Wasfi said.
A few weeks prior to her assassination, Abdul-Wahab received a threatening phone call from a group calling itself the "Islamic State of Iraq" asking her "to quit her activities or else," according to Muraslon Editor-in-Chief Mohamed al-Jebori, whom she had told about the threats.
Abdul-Wahab, who for safety reasons wrote under the pen name Sarwa Darweesh, published critical articles about Iraqi insurgent groups. In an April 24 story on Muraslon's Web site, she discussed efforts by insurgents to intimidate drivers working for Iraq 's biggest cement factory in Mosul .
An April 26 piece called on the people of Mosul to "collaborate with the Iraqi forces to get rid of the terrorists so that the rebuilding of Mosul will take place." In that report she accused "the so-called the Islamic State of Iraq " as being responsible for the destruction of Mosul .
Yasir al-Hamadani, head of the Mosul branch of the Iraqi Association for Journalists' Rights, said Abdul-Wahab was a member, AP reported. Abdul-Wahab' s friends and colleagues said that the journalist had recently traveled to Jordan for a week on a government-sponsore d training conference for journalists who would be covering the upcoming Iraqi elections.
Ibrahim Al-Saraj, head of the Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association, told CPJ that Abdul-Wahab had reported to him that she had received threatening phone calls two weeks ago warning her to quit her job "or else." He and al-Jebori said they had each advised Abdul-Wahab to leave Mosul .
Soran Mama Hama, Livin
July 21, 2008, Kirkuk
Mama Hama, 23, a reporter with the Sulaymania-based Livin magazine, was shot by unidentified gunmen in front of his home. He had received threatening messages before the slaying, local journalists told CPJ, and had written articles critical of local authorities.
His last article in Livin recounted the prevalence of prostitution in Kirkuk and the alleged complicity of police and security officials. In the article, which was reviewed by CPJ, Mama Hama claimed that he had collected the names of "police brigadiers, many lieutenants, colonels, and many police and security officers" who were clients.
Ahmed Mira, Livin's editor-in-chief, told CPJ that the slaying was designed to "silence the free voices in Kirkuk ." He called the murder "a very dangerous" development for the region's media.
Kirkuk Police Brig. Jamal Tahir told CPJ that the department had launched an investigation. He called it a "serious situation" that will get "special attention."
The shooting occurred at around 9 p.m. in the Shorija neighborhood, which is considered a relatively safe area. Initial accounts varied as to how many times Mama Hama was shot. Local journalists said the gunmen were driving a BMW.
The Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate, which has begun issuing periodic reports on threats against the press, noted earlier this month that Mama Hama had received a threatening message from an unknown person on May 15. Latif Fatih Faraj, head of the syndicate's Kirkuk chapter, called Mama Hama "a courageous and adventurous journalist."
Mohieldin Al-Naqeeb, Al-Iraqiya
June 17, 2008, north of Mosul
Al-Naqeeb, a 49-old-year journalist working with the local affiliate of state-run Al-Iraqiya TV in Nineveh province, was killed in a drive-by shooting north of Mosul .
Al-Naqeeb was on his way to work from his home in an agricultural area on the outskirts of Mosul at around 8:30 a.m. when a group of armed men in a car approached and opened fire, killing him instantly, according to Samir Sloka, head of Al-Iraqiya's newsroom. Sloka said that al-Naqeeb had received several death threats because of his work at the channel.
Al-Naqeeb began working for the Al-Iraqiya affiliate in Nineveh in 2005. Prior to 2003, he worked for state TV in Baghdad .
Haidar al-Hussein, Al-Sharq
May 22, 2008, Buhrez
Al-Husseini, a 37-year-old journalist who worked for the Baghdad-based daily Al-Sharq, was found dead in the Buhrez area in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad , three days after he was abducted by armed men.
Al-Husseini was seized in the al-Tahrir area of Baqouba while on his way to work at around 8 a.m. Al-Sharq Editor-in-Chief Abdul Rasool Zyara said Al-Husseini' s body showed signs of torture and he had been shot in the head.
According to Zyara, al-Husseini was kidnapped last year but released after he promised kidnappers that he would leave the city of Baqouba . He went to Baghdad , but when the Iraqi government announced that the Baqouba had been "cleansed" he went back to resume his work. He was a Shiite working in a predominantly Sunni area.
"The kidnappers wanted to send a message to those who have the guts to be from an opposing sect yet are able to write reports appreciative of the Iraqi government," Zyara told CPJ. Much of the paper's coverage is pro-government.
Musab Mahmood al-Ezawi, Al-Sharqiya
Ahmed Salim, Al-Sharqiya
Ihab Mu'd, Al-Sharqiya
September 13, 2008, Mosul
Senior correspondent al-Ezawi and cameramen Salim and Mu'd were kidnapped while filming in the Al-Zanjali district of Mosul, along with their driver, Qaydar Sulaiman, Al-Sharqiya said in a statement.â
Their bodies were later found in Al-Borsa district, a short distance from the kidnapping, a local journalist told CPJ. The journalist said that all the victims were in their 20s.
While five crew members were in the house filming, the three journalists and their driver were kidnapped by armed men, the local journalist told CPJ. The station transferred the five surviving crew members to Arbil, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) east of Mosul the same day, the journalist said.
The crew was filming a family for a show called "Your Iftar Is on Us." Iftar is the meal that breaks the Ramadan fast. Each day on the show, the crew would make dinner for a poor family.
ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY: 1
Fadel Shana, Reuters
April 16, 2008, Gaza Strip
Cameraman Shana, 23, was killed and soundman Wafa Abu Mizyed was wounded after they stopped their car to film Israeli military forces several hundred meters away, Reuters reported. Shana was using a tripod-mounted camera when an Israeli tank fired on the men. Eight other bystanders, most under the age of 16, were killed.
The Reuters cameraman was wearing a flak jacket marked "Press" and had gotten out of an unarmed sport utility vehicle bearing the markings "TV." A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Reuters: "In our operations we try to be as surgical as possible and make every effort not to see innocent people caught up in the fighting."
The Israeli military's subsequent investigation exonerated the soldiers responsible for the killing, saying that they had acted reasonably. "The tank crew was unable to determine the nature of the object mounted on the tripod and positively identify it as an antitank missile, a mortar, or a television camera," wrote the advocate general, Brig. Gen. Avihai Mendelblit.
Writing in CPJ's magazine Dangerous Assignments, Reuters Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald responded: "To reach that 'reasonable' decision, the troops failed to note 'TV' signs plastered over his jeep as it drove, twice, along the road they were monitoring through high-tech sights during the preceding half-hour; they affirmed--questiona bly--that Fadel's body armor was 'common to Palestinian terrorists;' they failed to find the fact he stood in front of them, a mile away, for four minutes an indication that he was not a threat; and they did not consider the 20-odd children playing behind him."
Reuters and CPJ called for an independent investigation into the killing of Shana, saying that the military's conclusion left numerous questions unanswered.
Chishti Mujahid, Akhbar-e-Jehan
February 9, 2008, Quetta
An unknown gunman killed Mujahid, a veteran columnist for the weekly, in a targeted attack outside his home in Quetta .
Mujahid, who was also a photographer, was struck in the head and chest as he left his house, according to the Pakistani Federal Union of Journalists and local news reports. The spokesman for a banned insurgent group, the Baluch Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for the murder in a phone call to the Quetta Press Club, saying Mujahid was "against" the Baluch cause, local news reports said.
Mujahid, an ethnic Punjabi, had received several telephone threats after writing about the killing of Baluch leader Balach Marri in November last year, according to the Pakistani Federal Union of Journalists. Akbar-e-Jehan, published by the Jang Media Group, is one of the largest weekly Urdu-language magazines in Pakistan .
Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province in southwestern Pakistan , where ethnic Baluch militants are engaged in protracted combat with government forces for political autonomy and local resources.
Siraj Uddin, The Nation
February 29, 2008, Mingora
Siraj Uddin died in a suicide bombing that took the lives of more than 40 people, according to Pakistani news reports. The attack occurred at the funeral of a slain police officer.
No organization claimed responsibility for the attack, which also wounded about 80 others, according to news reports. Pakistani reporters told CPJ that two other journalists were wounded: Hazrat Bilal of the local newspaper Shawal; and Munawar Afridi of the English-language Dawn.
Mingora is in the Swat Valley in the tumultuous North West Frontier Province . In 2007, militants took over much of the area, which is located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Islamabad and was once a tourist attraction known for its natural beauty and skiing. Government forces reasserted some degree of control by the beginning of 2008, but control of the area is not yet fully settled.
Mohammed Ibrahim, Express TV and Daily Express
May 22, 2008, Bajaur
Ibrahim, a reporter for Express TV, was gunned down by unknown men outside Khar, the main town of the Bajaur tribal area in Pakistan 's North West Frontier Province , according to news reports. The journalist was returning by motorcycle from an interview with local Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar, according to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and Imtiaz Ali, a Washington Post correspondent based in the nearby regional capital of Peshawar .
Reuters quoted a local journalist saying the attackers took Ibrahim's camera. They also took footage of the interview, Ali told CPJ by e-mail, after speaking with local reporters. Ali said that Ibrahim also worked for the Urdu-language Daily Express.
Bajaur is part of the restive Federally Administered Tribal Areas of the North West Frontier Province where local authorities and international Afghanistan- based military forces are fighting with militant groups for control.
Abdul Aziz Shaheen, Azadi
August 29, 2008, Swat
A Pakistani airstrike hit the lockup where Shaheen was being held by a local Taliban group in the Swat Valley in Pakistan 's tumultuous North West Frontier Province , according to local news reports citing a Taliban spokesman. The spokesman, Muslim Khan, said Shaheen was among at least 25 people killed in the strike, according to the Daily Times newspaper. The precise location of the Taliban hideout was not reported.
Militants abducted Shaheen, who worked for the local Urdu-language daily Azadi and sometimes filed for other papers, on August 27, according to local news reports. A local press freedom group, the Pakistan Press Foundation, said the Taliban had been angered by reports Shaheen had written about their activities. Owais Aslam Ali, the press foundation's secretary-general, told CPJ that local journalists contacted by his organization believed the Taliban abducted the journalist because of his work.
Shaheen's car was set on fire a week before he was abducted, although it was not clear whether the Taliban were responsible for that attack, the group reported. It said the journalist was kidnapped from the Peuchar area of the Matta Tehsil subdivision of Swat.
Pakistan 's army launched a major offensive in Swat in November 2007 to target pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah, known as the "Radio Mullah" for his use of unlicensed radio frequencies to broadcast speeches advocating Islamic law and calling on his followers to attack security personnel, according to published reports. He is believed to be at large, news reports said.
Robert "Bert" Sison, DZAT, Regional Bulletin
June 30, 2008, Sariaya
Sison, 60, was shot multiple times in his car by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle in Sariaya town, Quezon province, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) southeast of Manila , and died at the scene, according to international news reports. He was a reporter for the weekly Regional Bulletin, which has published articles on crime and stories critical of local officials. He also hosted a radio program on DZAT station, news reports said.
The gunmen wounded Sison's 30-year-old daughter, Liwayway, in the arm before fleeing the scene, the reports said. Sison's 24-year-old daughter, Amirah, escaped unharmed by pretending to be dead, they said. Both of Sison's daughters also report for the Regional Bulletin, according to the reports.
The governor of Quezon city , Dantes Nantes, told The Philippine Star that Sison had received death threats after reporting on illegal logging. The Star and the Philippines News Agency said Sison had targeted the local lumber trade in his recent radio broadcasts.
The Director-General of UNESCO, KoÑchiro Matsuura, condemned the killing of Sison's in a press release.
Martin Roxas, DYVR
August 7, 2008, Roxas City
Two men shot Roxas in the back as he drove his motorcycle from DYVR in Roxas City , on the country's central Panay island, where he worked as a program director and had just concluded his midday show, according to news reports. Police said Roxas died at a local hospital from a gunshot wound to his spine, the reports said.
Dennievin Macaranas, an operations head at Radio Mindanao Network, which includes DYVR, told CPJ that Roxas had been threatened before his death in relation to his work. Roxas covered various political issues in his show, and police told reporters they are investigating his recent coverage. Agence France-Presse quoted a manager at the station's parent network as saying that Roxas had reported recently on a dispute between two local politicians. The report did not elaborate. Roxas also recently broadcast a report on misappropriation of city funds, according to The Associated Press.
Police arrested two suspects when the pair tried to charge a roadblock set up shortly after the attack, local news reports said. Roxas told his colleagues that a group of men attacked him a week before his death, news reports said, but it was not clear if the attack was related to his work or to his murder.
Dennis Cuesta, DXMD
August 9, 2008, General Santos City
Two gunmen traveling by motorcycle fired several shots at Cuesta, a program director and anchor for DXMD, an affiliate of the Radio Mindanao Network, on a public street in General Santos City on August 4, according to news reports citing police.
Cuesta sustained multiple injuries, including a gunshot wound to the head, and died in a local hospital five days later, the reports said. A companion at the scene was unhurt, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). The Associated Press quoted an official saying there were three gunmen.
Cuesta's colleague, Mel Coronel, told AP that the journalist never recovered consciousness and died while in intensive care.
Local press freedom groups told CPJ they believe Cuesta was targeted for his reporting. Cuesta had been threatened in relation to his recent broadcasts, according to Dennievan Macaranas, a network operations manager who spoke with CPJ by telephone. The commentator had also recently applied for a firearm license and requested police protection, DPA reported. Police Superintendent Robert Po told DPA that a person involved in a land dispute had asked Cuesta to stop broadcasting critical commentaries about the case on the public affairs show he hosted.
Magomed Yevloyev, Ingushetiya
August 31, 2008, Nazran
Magomed Yevloyev, 37, owner of the popular news Web site Ingushetiya, was killed in police custody in Ingushetia. Yevloyev died from a gunshot wound to the head sustained while being transported by Ingush police following his arrest at the airport in the regional capital, Magas. Ingush police immediately called the shooting an accident, saying Yevloyev had tried to take a gun from one of the arresting officers. Yevloyev's relatives, colleagues, and friends told CPJ they believe he was murdered to silence the Web site, one of the few remaining independent news sources in Ingushetia.
Yevloyev had just disembarked a Moscow-Ingushetia flight when he was arrested by Ingush police about 1:30 p.m. , according to a colleague who was present at the scene but asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal. Yevloyev, who lived in Moscow with his family, was traveling to Ingushetia to visit with his parents and friends. Around 20 relatives and friends had gathered at Magas airport to greet Yevloyev.
Shortly before he got off the airplane, Yevloyev sent a text message to Magomed Khazbiyev, a friend and local opposition activist, telling him that he had shared the flight with Ingushetia President Murat Zyazikov, the friend told CPJ. After the presidential cortege left the airport, six armored vehicles approached the plane, Khazbiyev said. A group of armed police officers approached Yevloyev and placed him in a UAZ van. "They did not handcuff him, and he did not resist them," Khazbiyev told CPJ.
The daily Kommersant reported that Ingush police said they had detained Yevloyev as a witness in a criminal investigation into an August explosion at the home of a regional administration official.
When they saw Yevloyev had been detained, Khazbiyev said, friends followed the vehicles in their own cars. After the police vehicles left the airport, they split into two columns and took different directions. Khazbiyev and Yevloyev's relatives and friends followed the group heading toward Ingushetia's main city, Nazran. "We followed them for about 20 minutes until we almost reached Nazran's city limits," Khazbiyev told CPJ. When the cars stopped, it became clear Yevloyev was not there. "We have no blood on our hands," one police officer told them, Khazbiyev told CPJ.
Ingush police said that shortly after the journalist was placed in one of their vans, Yevloyev tried to wrestle away a gun belonging to one of the arresting officers. The gun went off, police said, striking Yevloyev in the temple. Police brought Yevloyev to a Nazran hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Vladimir Markin, a spokesman with the investigative committee of Russia 's prosecutor-general' s office, told journalists on Monday that a criminal case has been opened and the case has been categorized as "murder by negligence." The statement left unclear whether regional or federal prosecutors would be in charge of the probe.
Yevloyev's Web site was well known to human rights and press freedom groups in Russia and abroad as a reliable source for information in the tightly controlled republic of Ingushetia in Russia 's restive North Caucasus region. Ingushetiya had reported on governmental corruption, human rights abuses, unemployment, and a string of unsolved disappearances and killings in recent months. The site covered antigovernment protests and had called for Zyazikov's resignation.
On June 6, a district court in Moscow ordered the closure of Ingushetiya for alleged extremism. Yevloyev told CPJ at the time that he believed authorities wanted the site closed because of its critical coverage. Yevloyev told CPJ that Ingushetia authorities had launched more than a dozen lawsuits against the Web site in the past year. Despite the court's decision, Yevloyev and his colleagues continued to publish Ingushetiya, whose server was based in the United States .
In August, Ingushetiya Editor-in-Chief Roza Malsagova fled Russia after enduring harassment, threats, and beatings at the hands of Ingush authorities. Faced with a politically motivated criminal case on charges of "incitement of ethnic hatred" and "distribution of extremist materials," Malsagova sought asylum in Western Europe .
Yevloyev was survived by a wife and three young children.
Telman Alishayev, TV-Chirkei
September 2, 2008, Makhachkala
Two unidentified assassins killed Alishayev, host of the program "Peace to Your Home," which was broadcast by TV-Chirkei in Makhachkala , the regional capital of the southern Russian republic of Dagestan . The assailants shot him with a Makarov pistol at around 8 p.m. as he was sitting in his car stopped at a street signal while coming home from a local mosque, local press reports said. He sustained head and shoulder wounds and died in hospital the next morning, the news agency Interfax reported.
In 2006, Alishayev was the main producer of a documentary titled "Ordinary Wahhabism," which criticized the conservative Sunni Islam sect and its recent spread in Dagestan . According to the independent Moscow business daily Kommersant, Alishayev received threats shortly after the film was released, and one radical Islamist group included his name in a "death list" published on its Web site.
In his most recent programs, Alishayev promoted educational reform and lobbied for the introduction of separation of the sexes in Dagestan ' schools, local press reports said. Alishayev also advocated for introduction of religious education in high schools. Although addressing social issues, most of Alishayev's work was on religion, CPJ sources in the region said.
Arsen Akhmedov, a spokesman for the Dagestan prosecutor's office, told the news agency RIA Novosti that prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the murder and had preliminarily identified a suspect.
Hassan Kafi Hared, Somali National News Agency
January 28, 2008, Kismayo
Hared, 38, a reporter for the Somali National News Agency, was killed during a midday attack on a medical assistance vehicle in the southwestern port town of Kismayo , according to news reports and local journalists.
A remotely detonated landmine destroyed a Medecins Sans Frontières-Holland vehicle, killing two aid workers and the driver. Guards with the aid organization opened fire in the area after the explosion, local journalists told CPJ.
Hared and a young boy who were walking near the vehicle also died, local journalists told CPJ. It was not clear whether Hared died from the explosion or from gunshot wounds; both bullet and mine shrapnel wounds were found on his body, local journalists said.
Hared, who also worked for the news Web site Gedonet, was on his way to a press conference at the Kismayo police station when he was killed. The reporter was rushed to Kismayo General Hospital but died an hour later, at around 1 p.m. He was survived by a wife and three children.
Nasteha Dahir Farah, freelance
June 7, 2008, Kismayo
Farah, vice chairman of the National Union of Somali Journalists, was shot by two men while walking home from an Internet cafe near his home in Kismayo at around 7 p.m. , local journalists told CPJ.
Farah was rushed to the local hospital, but died due to blood loss 10 minutes later, the union reported. Prior to his death, Farah had told the medical staff that two men had shot him with AK-47s, nurse Ahmed Said Ali told The Associated Press.
Farah had been reporting on a conflict over distribution of tax revenue in Kismayo, the second largest port city in Somalia , Abdi Aynte, a correspondent for the BBC, told CPJ.
Farah was a contributor to several media outlets, including the BBC and The Associated Press. He also contributed a piece to CPJ's magazine, Dangerous Assignments, recounting the 2008 death of Somali National News Agency reporter Hassan Kafi Hared in Kismayo.
The slaying came a day after Farah expressed fear for his life amid escalating insecurity in Kismayo. "I do not know if I can work in this hostile environment anymore. I am so scared," Farah told an Agence France-Presse reporter one day before his murder.
The journalist was survived by his wife, Idil Farey, who was six months pregnant at the time of the killing, and a son.
SRI LANKA: 2
Paranirupasingham Devakumar, News 1st
May 28, 2008, Jaffna
Devakumar, Jaffna correspondent for the independent Maharaja Television news channel News 1st, was stabbed to death when he was attacked by supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamal Eelam (LTTE), according to Sunanda Deshapriya, spokesman for local press freedom group the Free Media Movement.
Deshapriya said that FMM's investigations had shown that Devakumar was killed by the Tamil Tiger supporters in retribution for critical reporting on LTTE activities in the area. Deshapriya also noted the journalist had covered a government-sponsore d rally that the LTTE had wanted him to avoid.
The group also killed Mahendran Warden, a friend of the journalist who was traveling with him by motorbike in the government-controll ed area, according to a report published on the News 1st Web site. Devakumar and Warden were returning home in the evening when the attack occurred, news reports said. Warden was the son of a leading member of the Eelam People's Democratic Party, a Tamil party working with the government, Deshapriya said.
Devakumar was one of the few remaining journalists reporting from the peninsula, a focal point in the civil war between the predominantly Sinhalese government and the LTTE, which claims territory for an ethnic Tamil homeland. Conflict has worsened in recent years, and a 2002 ceasefire agreement was abandoned in January 2008. The Sri Lankan government bars journalists from war zones.
Rashmi Mohamed, Sirasa TV
October 6, 2008, Anuradhapura
Mohamed, a provincial correspondent of Sirasa TV, was covering the opening ceremony of the new office of the United National Party (UNP) in Anuradhapura when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device.
The blast apparently came from a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) inside the newly opened and crowded office of the opposition UNP. The target appeared to be retired Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera, who died in the blast. At least 27 people died and at least 80 more were wounded in the explosion.
Mohamed, a television journalist, was covering the opening. He was a member of Sri Lanka 's Muslim community, which makes up about 10 percent of the population.
Security was apparently lax at the event. UNP officials quoted by The Associated Press accused the government of ignoring repeated requests for a stronger security detail for Perera, who was a vocal critic of the way the government had conducted its military campaign against the LTTE secessionists. "The government must take full responsibility. They did not give him adequate security for political reasons," AP quoted party official Tissa Attanayake as saying.
Athiwat Chaiyanurat, Matichon, Channel 7
August 1, 2008, Chaiyamontri
A reporter with the Thai-language daily newspaper Matichon and a stringer for the army-owned television station Channel 7, Athiwat was found dead in his home in the town of Chaiyamontri in the southern province of Nakorn Sri Thammarat .
Police investigators quoted in the local media said the reporter was shot twice, in the back and in the head, and that his murder took place while he was cooking in his kitchen at home at around 8 p.m.
Matichon News Editor Kaweesak Bhutton told CPJ that the newspaper considers the slaying to be work-related. Athiwat had told Kaweesak that influential officials in Nakorn Sri Thammarat province were "dissatisfied" with his reporting on local corruption issues. In the weeks leading up to the slaying, safety concerns had led Athiwat to avoid leaving the house except for reporting assignments, Kaweesak said. The Thai Journalists Association, a local press freedom group, also said in a statement that Athiwat's murder was likely related to his recent reporting.
Athiwat's wife and son were not home at the time of the killing, local news reports said. Nakorn Sri Thammarat is known for drug trafficking and a high crime rate. Apart from the insurgent-hit areas in Thailand 's southernmost provinces, it has one of the highest murder rates per capita in the country.
Chalee Boonsawat, Thai Rath
August 21, 2008, Sungai Kolok
Chalee, a reporter with the country's biggest Thai-language daily, was killed while covering an explosion in restive southern Thailand , according to local and international news reports.
Chalee was killed by a car bomb that apparently targeted people arriving at the scene of a blast that occurred minutes earlier in the town of Sungai Kolok on the Malaysian border, according to local and international news reports. At least 30 people were injured in the second explosion, which occurred 20 minutes after a smaller motorcycle bombing that left no casualties, according to The Associated Press. The attacks, attributed to local insurgents in a region rife with separatist violence, occurred outside a restaurant near the local police station, news reports said.
A reporter with Channel 9, Phadung Wannalak, was seriously injured in the blast. A rescue worker also died of his wounds, the reports said.
Many in Thailand 's predominantly Muslim southern provinces share an ethnicity and cultural heritage with neighboring Malays, unlike the country's Buddhist majority. A long-simmering separatist movement gained momentum in early 2004, leading to almost daily acts of violence, according to published reports.
TOTAL UNCONFIRMED CASES FOR 2008: 15
Abdul Samad Rohani, BBC Pashto Service, Pajhwok Afghan News
June 8, 2008, Lashkar Gah
Rohani disappeared on the evening of June 7. The following day, his body was found with multiple bullet wounds in a cemetery near Lashkar Gah, the capitol of Helmand province, according to Afghan and international news reports. Rohani was the Helmand reporter for the Pashto service of the BBC and also contributed to the Pajhwok Afghan News, the country's largest independent news service.
A native of Helmand , Rohani had distinguished himself as a brave, well-connected reporter with a streak of eloquence in his Pashto reporting, according to colleagues. He had worked for the BBC since 2006. Rohani 25, the oldest son in a family of seven children, was married with two children.
Helmand province lies along the restive border with Pakistan , and is home to Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, as well as a flourishing opium trade. Some Afghan news reports quoted an unidentified government spokesman who said Rohani was killed by Taliban militants, but on the day his body was discovered, a representative of the Taliban, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, denied to The Associated Press that his group was behind the reporter's death.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: 1
Normando García Reyes, Teleunión
August 7, 2008, Santiago
Unidentified individuals shot and killed García, a cameraman for the daily news program "Detrás de la Noticia" (Behind the News) and producer of the music program "Pachanga Mix" on television station Teleunión, in the city of Santiago , 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of the capital, Santo Domingo .
At around 6:40 p.m. , García was dropping off his vehicle at a car wash when multiple gunshots were fired from a moving car, according to local news reports.
At the time, García was talking to a taxi driver who was also killed. García, who died immediately, was shot five times in the head, four in the chest, and once in the leg, said Esteban Rosario, host of "Detrás de la Noticia." García, known locally as Azabache, covered drug trafficking and crime.
García had received multiple death threats in the previous eight months, according to journalists in Santiago . Rosario, who has also been threatened, said anonymous callers had told García that he would be killed if he continued reporting on crime. García's car was set on fire outside the Teleunión offices eight months ago, Rosario said.
Santiago police spokesman Col. Jesús Cordero Paredes told CPJ that authorities were looking at possible suspects but had not identified a motive.
Raúl Rodríguez Coronel, Radio Sucre
June 23, 2008, Guayaquil
Rodríguez, news vice president and host of the daily news and opinion program "Buenos Días Ecuador " (Good Morning Ecuador) on the Guayaquil-based Radio Sucre, was gunned down on a Guayaquil street.
Rodríguez left the radio station after finishing that morning's show around 7 a.m. , Radio Sucre's manager, Gabriel Arroba, told CPJ. He drove to Guayacanes, a neighborhood north of the city, to pick up family members, Arroba said. When he arrived at his cousin's house at around 7:15 a.m. , at least one unidentified gunman approached him and began firing, witnesses told Radio Sucre reporters.
According to Arroba, witnesses said Rodríguez hid behind a car as the assailant pursued him. Rodríguez pulled out a gun and exchanged fire before the assailant fled in a nearby car, local press reports said. Rodríguez was taken to a local clinic, where he died an hour later from gunshot wounds to the leg, pelvis, and torso, Arroba told CPJ.
Local journalists told CPJ that Rodríguez may have been attacked in retaliation for his commentary on "Buenos Días Ecuador ." Arroba said Rodríguez often spoke critically about criminal activities, alleged corruption in the customs office, and constitutional changes in support of gay marriage and abortion rights. However, Arroba told CPJ that he could not rule out motives that were not related to Rodríguez's work.
Arroba said Rodríguez had received multiple anonymous threats for his reporting on the customs office in the past few years, but that he had not been threatened in at least four months. In 2006, he had also been attacked by two assailants who fired at him but fled after he fired back. His daughter, Solange, told reporters that in the days prior to his death, Rodríguez had mentioned telephone threats that he said were connected to the 2006 attack, according to the national daily El Universo. Solange Rodríguez did not elaborate.
On June 24, authorities received an anonymous tip about the car that had been used in the getaway, according to Ecuadoran news reports. The Guayas Judicial Police arrested a woman named Vanessa Pisco. News reports said that Pisco told investigators that her husband, Jhonny Jimmy Medina Rivadeneira, had been involved in the shooting. On June 26, the Guayas Judicial Police arrested Medina and Cecilio Sellán Vargas, during separate operations. Arroba told CPJ that the three suspects claimed the shooting was a robbery attempt gone awry. Rodríguez's wallet, car keys, cell phone, car radio, and gun were all found at the scene of the crime, he said.
Jorge Mérida Pérez, Prensa Libre
May 10, 2008, Coatepeque
At 4 p.m. on May 10, at least one unidentified individual stormed into Mérida's home in Coatepeque, 130 miles (210 kilometers) southwest of Guatemala City , according to press reports and CPJ interviews. Mérida, 40, the local correspondent for the Guatemala national daily Prensa Libre, was working at his computer at the time of the attack. The journalist was shot four times in the head, Prensa Libre reported. His 14-year-old son was in the house but was not injured.
Miguel Ángel Méndez, Prensa Libre's deputy director, said the journalist had reported on local drug trafficking and government corruption.
In the weeks prior to his death, Mérida told colleagues and family members that he had received multiple threats, Méndez told CPJ. But the journalist did not seem overly concerned about the threats and did not give any more details, according to Méndez. Brenda Dery Muñoz, a local prosecutor for crimes related to drug trafficking, told CPJ that Mérida and other reporters had been threatened after covering a police seizure of 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of cocaine.
National authorities, who are in charge of the investigation, were focusing on Mérida's work as a motive for the killing, although they were considering other possibilities, Méndez said. Rosa Salazar Marroquín, spokeswoman for the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against journalists and union members, told CPJ that the prosecutor was investigating links between Mérida's death and his journalism.
Hisham Mijawet Hamdan, Young Journalists Association
February 12, 2008, Baghdad
Police discovered the body of Hisham Mijawet Hamdan, 27, a board member of the Young Journalists Association, according to Haidar Hasoun, founder and head of the association. He told CPJ that the journalist, whose body showed signs of torture, was shot in the head and chest.
Hamdan's family lost contact with him on the morning of February 10 when he went to buy stationery supplies from a Baghdad market, Hasoun said.
Hamdan was active in an association campaign to support families of journalists killed in Iraq , and he had called on Iraqi government and civil society organizations to do more to assist, Hasoun told CPJ. Hamdan was also part of a committee formed to collect financial contributions for the families of slain journalists. Hamdan had appeared on Iraqi satellite channels advocating on behalf of the families, which may have made him a target, Hasoun said.
Hamdan worked as a political reporter for the bimonthly paper Al-Siyassa wal-Karar, published by the Young Journalists Association. The paper had recently halted production of its print edition but had maintained an online version, according to Hasoun, the editor-in-chief.
The Young Journalists Association was launched in January 2004 and held journalism seminars in cooperation with Baghdad University 's media college.
Qassim Abdul Hussein al-Iqabi, Al-Muwatin
March 13, 2008, Baghdad
Qassim Abdul Hussein al-Iqabi, 36, of the local daily Al-Muwatin (The Citizen) was shot and killed in Baghdad 's predominantly Shiite Karradah neighborhood, according to local and international news reports. Al-Iqabi was not widely known among his colleagues, and it was not clear why he was targeted.
The board of the daily Al-Muwatin was headed by Ibrahim Bahr Al-Uloom, the former oil minister and a Shiite member of parliament, Iraqi journalists told CPJ.
The Iraqi Union of Journalists- -whose head, Shihab al-Tamimi, died on February 27 following a similar attack in Baghdad --said in a public statement that "those who are targeting journalists are targeting Iraq and its future."
Trent Keegan, freelance
May 28, 2008, Nairobi
Keegan, a New Zealand-born photojournalist was found dead in a trench next to Uhuru Highway in Nairobi on May 28, Kenyan police said. A police statement said Keegan was found with head injuries about 10 hours after he was killed.
Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told CPJ that investigators believed Keegan was killed in a robbery attempt. Police said that Keegan's camera and laptop were missing, but his wallet, with 3,848 shillings (US$62), was left intact. In late June, police detained a suspect but did not release details.
The photographer, last seen at 9:30 p.m. on May 27 after visiting a friend, was found with multiple injuries to the back of the head. According to colleagues who visited the crime scene, Keegan's body had been dragged into a concealed area in the ditch.
Some friends and colleagues were skeptical of the robbery motive. Several told CPJ that an external hard drive and discs--which Keegan would have used for his work--were not on the police inventory of items found in the journalist's Nairobi apartment.
Prior to his death, Keegan had told friends via e-mail that he was investigating a land dispute in northern Tanzania between local Maasai and the Massachusetts- based Thomson Safaris Company. Keegan said that while he was reporting in Tanzania people representing themselves as police and employees of the safari company had visited him and questioned him about his work. He said in the e-mails that he was concerned about his safety. A spokeswoman for Thomson Safaris told CPJ that the company was unaware that Keegan was working on a story about their operations.
Keegan had lived in western Ireland for eight years and won several awards from the Irish Professional Photographers Association. His work was published in several Irish newspapers and magazines. Keegan's body was airlifted back to New Zealand during the first week of June 2008.
Teresa Bautista Merino, La Voz que Rompe el Silencio
Felicitas Martínez Sánchez, La Voz que Rompe el Silencio
April 7, 2008, Putla de Guerrero
Unidentified individuals shot Bautista Merino, 24, and Martínez Sánchez, 20, hosts and reporters for the community radio station La Voz que Rompe el Silencio (The Voice that Breaks the Silence), as they were driving on a rural highway in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.
The station, based in the Triqui indigenous town of San Juan Copala , 220 miles (350 kilometers) west of the state capital of Oaxaca , had begun broadcasting in Spanish and Triqui on January 19. Jorge Albino, general coordinator of the station, told CPJ that Bautista and Martínez reported on the autonomous indigenous government of San Juan Copala, as well as health, education, and indigenous cultural issues. The two women were also indigenous activists, CPJ research found.
Albino said the two were coming from a neighboring Triqui town, where they were promoting the station, when unidentified individuals armed with assault rifles ambushed their car. Three others in the vehicle, including a 3-year-old child, were injured, local news reports said.
The municipality of San Juan Copala --where Bautista and Martínez worked--was known for heated and often deadly conflicts between indigenous and political groups. The two women were said to be vocal about indigenous rights and autonomy.
Alejandro Zenón Fonseca Estrada, EXA FM
September 24, 2008, Villahermosa
Fonseca, host of a morning talk show on the local radio station EXA FM, was hanging anticrime posters on a major street in Villahermosa , capital of the Gulf Coast state of Tabasco , around 9 p.m. on September 23 when he was approached by four unidentified men riding in a van, witnesses told local police and reporters. One of the posters read, "No to Kidnappings, " while another declared support for Tabasco 's governor, Andrés Granier Melo.
Witnesses said the assailants berated Fonseca for the posters and then shot him at close range. Fonseca was taken to a local hospital, where he died from chest wounds early the next morning, according to press reports. The assailants were said to be armed with AR-15 rifles.
Fonseca, known by the affectionate Mexican nickname, "The Godfather," hosted the morning call-in show "El Padrino Fonseca" (The Godfather Fonseca), geared toward young listeners, for 10 years. Earlier in September, Fonseca had announced that he planned to put up posters as part of his ongoing campaign against violence in Tabasco , according to press reports and CPJ interviews. It was not immediately clear whether Fonseca had received threats while waging his on-air anticrime campaign. Colleagues told CPJ and the local press that Fonseca was a well-known and respected radio personality in Tabasco , especially among young listeners.
The federal attorney general's office said it would join in the local investigation because of the type of weapon used, local press reports said. On October 5, Tabasco authorities said they had identified two suspects through surveillance videos taken at the scene of the shooting, according to Mexican press reports. Alex Alvarez Gutiérrez, who headed the local investigation for the Tabasco state attorney general, said authorities had interviewed witnesses and recovered forensic evidence at the scene of the crime, according to the national daily La Jornada.
Miguel Angel Villagómez Valle, La Noticia de Michoacán
October 10, 2008, between Lázaro Cárdenas and Zihuatanejo
Villagómez, editor and founder of the local daily La Noticia de Michoacán, went missing in Lázaro Cárdenas, a port city on the southern Pacific coast of Michoacán, at about 10:30 p.m. on October 9 after leaving the newspaper's offices to drop two colleagues off at their homes, according to CPJ interviews with local law enforcement authorities and Villagómez's colleagues and wife.
They said that he had been expected back in the office but never returned. State police found the journalist's bruised and gunshot-riddled body at about 6 a.m. the following day in a garbage dump near a coastal highway in the neighboring state of Guerrero, about 31 miles (50 kilometers) from Lázaro Cárdenas, where the journalist lived. His car was not recovered. La Noticia de Michoacán is a small regional tabloid that regularly covers crime and politics, along with sports and culture.
Villagómez's relatives and colleagues told CPJ that they were uncertain about the motive for the killing. They noted that about one month before his death, Villagómez mentioned receiving a threatening call on his cell phone. He told them the caller was a member of Los Zetas, the enforcement arm of the powerful Gulf drug cartel. He warned his family to be alert, his wife, Irania Iveth Leyva Faustino, told CPJ.
State police did not announce any suspects or investigative leads. Villagómez, 29, was survived by his wife and three young children.
Khadim Hussain Sheikh, Sindh TV, Khabrein
April 14, 2008, Hub
Sheikh, a stringer for Sindh TV and local bureau chief for the national Urdu-language daily Khabrein, was killed by unidentified gunmen as he left his home by motorbike in the town of Hub , 23 miles (35 kilometers) north of Karachi , according to the Pakistan Federation of Journalists Union (PFUJ) and the Associated Press of Pakistan.
Mazhar Abbas, secretary-general of the PFUJ, told CPJ he had spoken by telephone with Sheikh's brother, Ishaq, who was riding on the same motorbike at the time of the attack and had been hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Ishaq said three men on motorbikes carried out the shooting, then checked to make sure his brother was dead before fleeing the scene, according to Abbas. Ishaq said he was unaware of any personal dispute that might have led to Sheikh's murder, Abbas said.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman called for a probe into the murder, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan.
Benefredo Acabal, The Filipino Newsmen
April 7, 2008, Pasig City
Benefredo Acabal, 34, was shot several times at close range by an unidentified gunman in Pasig City in the Manila metropolitan area, according to local and international news reports. The gunman fled the scene on a motorcycle, those reports said. Acabal died from his wounds on the way to the hospital.
Acabal wrote a column for the local newspaper The Filipino Newsmen in Cavite province, south of Manila . The Philippine Star reported that he was also involved in the trucking business. Local police were investigating to determine whether the killing was linked to his reporting or his business interests.
Ilyas Shurpayev, Channel One
March 21, 2007, Moscow
Firefighters responding to an emergency call found Shurpayev, 32, dead in his rented Moscow apartment; he had been stabbed and strangled. The perpetrators had apparently set the residence on fire to cover their tracks, Channel One reported.
The prosecutor general's office opened a murder investigation. According to initial press reports, authorities ruled out robbery as a motive since Shurpayev's valuables, including his laptop, had not been taken. Investigators initially said they were looking at Shurpayev's journalism as a possible motive, along with unspecified private matters, Channel One reported on March 21. Channel One representative<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)