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Journalists Who Died on the Job Remembered

May 3, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) _ Fifty-nine journalists who died while reporting the news in 2005, including two Associated Press Television News cameramen, were memorialized Wednesday.

They were added to the Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial, which now bears the names of 1,665 journalists, dating back to 1812.

``In their sacrifice, they gave meaning not only to their own lives but to the lives of all of us who report the news,″ said David Westin, president of ABC News. ``They were seeking truth on behalf of all of us.″

APTN’s Saleh Ibrahim was one of 23 journalists killed in Iraq last year, and Mir Nawab was one of two killed in Pakistan. Their names were read aloud, followed by a chime, as was the name of every journalist included in the memorial _ a spiral-shaped structure made of glass panels that change color as they catch the sunlight.

Ibrahim, a 33-year-old Iraqi, was killed by gunfire April 23, 2005, as he was covering an earlier explosion in Mosul. Nawab, 34, a freelance cameraman for APTN and a reporter for the newspaper Frontier Post, was killed Feb. 7, 2005, in Pakistan when a bus he was on came under fire as he was returning from covering the surrender of a tribal militant.

The 23 on-the-job deaths in Iraq in 2005, plus six in the first three months of 2006, bring the toll of journalists there to 74 since 2003, according to the Freedom Forum. The organization said that is more than died in either World War II or the conflict in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Steven C. Vincent, 49, a freelance journalist who had written for The Christian Science Monitor, National Review and The New York Times, was killed in Basra, Iraq, after he and his translator were kidnapped.

Vincent’s widow, Lisa Ramaci-Vincent, said the tribute meant a lot because Vincent wasn’t a permanent employee of a major news organization, but was still included. ``The fact he was considered to have given his life for truth and freedom, he deserves to be a hero,″ she said.

Three of the 59 who were honored died or were killed in the United States. Liz Ichizawa, 49, a reporter for The Town Common weekly newspaper in Rowley, Mass., died after her car collided with a van carrying disabled adults; Medford E. Logsdon, 36, photo editor for The Newton Kansan, also was killed in a car accident; and Akilah Amapindi, 23, died while attending the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Atlanta, apparently from malaria contracted in Namibia, where she had interned for the Namibian Broadcasting Corp.

``It’s really meaningful to know she’s acknowledged″ alongside career journalists, said Amapindi’s mother, Unnah Harper. ``She accomplished a lot.″

Dave Phillips, publisher of The Newton Kansan, called Logsdon ``the epitome of local journalism. He was connected with the community.″

The annual event at Freedom Park marks World Press Freedom Day, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. The memorial will be rebuilt for next year’s rededication ceremony in Washington, which will take place in the Newseum, an international museum of news that also is moving to the capital.


On the Net:

Freedom Forum: http://www.freedomforum.org

Newseum: http://www.newseum.org

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