Killing of three journalists in Afghanistan, Russia resonate

Sunday, October 8, 2006

PARIS -- As the first European memorial to journalists killed on the job was inaugurated Saturday, word trickled in that two reporters had been shot to death in Afghanistan and another was killed in Russia.

The killings resonated as press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders and the northwest French town of Bayeux unveiled a memorial to some 2,000 journalists and other media workers killed in the line of duty around the world since World War II.

"We were expecting anything but this today ... three at once. You can imagine how people responded here," Robert Menard, president of Reporters Without Borders, said by telephone. "It shows how much such killings are everyday news."

Fifty-six journalists have been killed so far this year -- mainly in Iraq, Menard said.

Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist known for her critical coverage of the war in Chechnya, was shot to death Saturday in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building in a killing prosecutors suspect could be connected to her investigative work.

Also Saturday, two German journalists with the national broadcaster Deutsche Welle were gunned down while traveling through northern Afghanistan.

Karen Fischer, 30, and Christian Struwe, 38, were conducting research for a documentary. They were shot while inside their tent as they camped outside a small town some 100 miles northwest of Kabul.

The memorial in Bayeux to slain journalists, said to be the first of its kind in Europe, features four white markers etched with the names of journalists, photographers, camera and sound technicians killed since 1944 -- when Allied troops liberated the town. Additional stones are to be added in coming months.

Relatives, friends or former colleagues wiped their eyes or laid bouquets on a well-sculpted lawn around the markers. Lebanese anchorwoman Giselle Khoury honored her late husband Samir Kassir, a journalist and critic of Syria's policy in Lebanon, who was killed by a car bomb last year.


Associated Press Writer Laurent Rebours in Bayeux contributed to this report.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: