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Journalists Killed For Covering Graft

More than half the journalists murdered in the line of duty were working to expose corruption.

"Murder, after all, is the ultimate form of censorship," wrote Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In a story that first appeared in The Media magazine and is now available here, Mahoney said 44 journalists were killed last year as a direct result of their work, eight of them in Africa, and 145 were thrown in prison.

Since 1992, the CPJ reports 861 journalists killed in the line of duty. The 10 deadliest countries have been:

Iraq: 149
Philippines: 71
Algeria: 60
Russia: 52
Colombia: 43
Pakistan: 35
Somalia: 34
India: 27
Mexico: 25
Afghanistan: 22

Editors, Mahoney said, are usually afraid to write about the big fish in corruption stories, so they tackle the small fry.

But not always.

"Only a few courageous writers progress far up the chain to the political and business elites who cream off a country’s wealth," Mahoney said. "Among them are editor Abdou Latif Coulibaly, who has taken on Senegal’s elite, exposing corruption in a US$200 million government deal for a telecom licence. He is now facing three separate criminal defamation lawsuits."

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