Final assignment

2004-05-03 21:43
Arlington, Virginia - The names of 20 journalists who lost their lives during the war in Iraq last year were among 53 added to a memorial Monday to reporters, photographers, editors and broadcasters who died covering the news.

Under a chilly drizzle, 1 475 other names were being read in a ceremony at the Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial, a spiral glass tribute to journalists who have lost their lives since 1812. The memorial rises above the Potomac River next to the Freedom Forum's former Newseum, a journalism museum that closed in 2002 and is being rebuilt in downtown Washington.

The ceremony was attended by relatives, friends and colleagues of those who died.

The memorial is rededicated each year to mark World Press Freedom Day in early May. Since it opened in 1996, 249 names of journalists who died from 1996 to 2002 have been added. Fifty-three journalists died on assignment last year around the world, 20 of them involved in covering Iraq.

Associated Press Television News cameraman Nazeh Darwazeh was fatally shot last April 19 by Israeli troops in the West Bank.

This year's list also includes more than a dozen journalists who were believed to have been targeted for their coverage of government politics or crime in Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, India, Nepal, the Philippines and Russia.

Last year was the deadliest year for journalists covering conflicts since World War II.

The museum and the memorial are financed by the Freedom Forum, a non-profit foundation dedicated to a free press.

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