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Washington Newseum Honors 82 Journalists Killed in 2012

Washington Newseum Honors 82 Journalists Killed in 2012i
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May 14, 2013
The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and also protects freedom of the press. But in many countries, journalists are not allowed to report the news or criticize their governments, and are punished or even killed for doing so. And in war zones, journalists are frequently exposed to crossfire. The dangers to journalists are evident in the number of those killed in the line of duty. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes us to the Newseum in Washington, to show us the most dangerous country for journalists in 2012.

Washington Newseum Honors 82 Journalists Killed in 2012

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— The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and also protects freedom of the press. But in many countries, journalists are not allowed to report the news or criticize their governments, and are punished or even killed for doing so. And in war zones, journalists are frequently exposed to crossfire. The dangers to journalists are evident in the number of those killed in the line of duty.

They were killed last year while doing their jobs. The Newseum in Washington has added 82 names to its Journalists Memorial.


Photojournalist Ahmed Ismael Hassan al-Samadi was shot in Bahrain while taping an anti-government protest.

His father Ismail carries the camera his son was using when he was killed. No one has been charged in his death.

"What I hope is that every martyr gets justice -- everyone who died this year and previous years. And I hope that justice takes its course," Ismael said.

VOA radio reporter Mukarram Khan Aatif was killed by gunmen while saying prayers at a Pakistani mosque.

Aatif joins more than 2,200 journalists on this wall -- all killed while practicing their craft -- often in countries that do not have freedom of the press, or are plagued by war. Syria was the deadliest country for journalists last year, with 29 deaths.

NBC correspondent Richard Engel knows the danger. He and his crew were kidnapped last year in Syria....then rescued after five days.

"You have pockets of the country that are run by one group, pockets of the same country that are run by yet another group, the capital that is still in the government's hands and how you navigate from one political space to the next where you don't really know who to trust, who has capacity to give you safe passage. I fear next year Syria is gong to be very represented on this list as well," Engel said.

The second most dangerous country last year was Somalia with 12 deaths, followed by Brazil and Pakistan. Those journalists join the others on the memorial, dating back to 1837.

Richard Engel says these journalists died doing what they loved. Not behind a desk, but with their boots on and pencil in hand.


Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an award-winning television reporter who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.  She has won an Emmy, many Associated Press awards, and a Clarion for her coverage of Haiti,  national politics, the southern economy, and the 9/11 bombing anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Syrian medical crisis and the Asiana plane crash, and was VOA’s chief reporter from the Boston Marathon bombing.

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