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Algeria Again World’s Deadliest Story

January 26, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ For the second year in a row, Algeria was the most dangerous place in the world for journalists to do their jobs last year.

In its annual report, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday that at least 24 reporters and editors were killed in the North African country in 1995.

The deaths pushed Algeria’s total to 52 since May 1993, when Islamic fundamentalist rebels seeking to overthrow the government began targeting journalists, the reporters’ advocacy group said.

Overall, the group said it confirmed 51 deaths of journalists last year. Six were combat casualties and the rest appear to have been slayings, reflecting a trend that involves local rather than international journalists.

The overall figure was down from 1994, when 73 were killed _ 59 of them murdered and 14 in combat, the committee said.

Besides the slayings in Algeria, the year saw seven journalists killed in Russia; four in Brazil; three in Colombia, and one death each in Angola, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Canada, Croatia, Dominican Republic, India, Mexico, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda and Ukraine.

William Orme, executive director of the committee, said most Algerian cases were ``deliberate political assassinations,″ and called Brazil’s especially disturbing in a country ``not customarily associated″ with killing of journalists.

``The campaign of terror against local reporters constitutes the single most serious threat against journalists anywhere in the world, and should be vigorously condemned by everyone who values press freedom,″ said committee chairwoman Kati Marton.

The group released its findings at a joint news conference with The Freedom Forum, which announced plans for a memorial to the 912 journalists it said had been killed on the job since 1812.

``It really has become commonplace around the world to murder journalists to silence their reporting, and the sad truth is that most of those martyrs get very little public attention,″ said Freedom Forum Chairman Allen H. Neuharth.

The steel-and-glass memorial near The Freedom Forum’s Arlington, Va., headquarters, to be dedicated May 20, ``will be a place where their sacrifice will be remembered,″ Neuharth said.

The list of 912 ranged from James Lingan, trampled to death in 1812 by a Baltimore mob, to Vadim Alferyev, a crime reporter murdered in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, last Dec. 27.

It also includes Mark Kellogg, an Associated Press reporter who covered Gen. George A. Custer’s 1876 foray against the Sioux and died at Little Big Horn _ the first of 21 AP reporters and photographers killed in line of duty.

Latter-day entries include Ernie Pyle, the famed World War II combat correspondent; Mutual Broadcasting’s Elsie Dick, the first woman on the list, killed in India in 1949; Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles, killed by a car bomb in 1976; and Manuel de Dios Unanue, a crusading New York magazine editor who was murdered by drug gangsters in 1992.