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Russia ranks second in journalist deaths worldwide - report

LONDON, March 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia ranks second in the world in terms of the number of journalists killed on the job over the past decade, a global report said Tuesday.

The report is titled "Killing the Messenger," and is based on the world's most comprehensive survey of deaths among journalists and other news media professionals, conducted between January 1996 and June 2006 by the International News Safety Institute (INSI).

According to the report, 1,000 news media personnel have died while covering the news around the world in the past 10 years, but only a quarter of them died in wars and armed conflicts.

The majority of those killed died while reporting in their own countries.

"In many countries, murder has become the easiest, cheapest and most effective way of silencing troublesome reporting, and the more the killers get away with it the more the spiral of death is forced upwards," Rodney Pinder, Director of INSI, said in the report.

Russia, which saw 88 reporters murdered over the past 10 years, is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists to work. It is second only to Iraq, where 138 media personnel have been killed over the same period.

The most recent high-profile murder of a Russian reporter occurred in October 2006, when investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down in an elevator in her apartment bloc in Moscow, the victim of an apparent contract killing.

Politkovskaya, 48, known for her criticism of the Kremlin's policy in Chechnya, had written a book on the widespread abuse of local civilians by federal troops in the North Caucasus republic.

INSI is a coalition of media organizations, press freedom groups, unions and humanitarian campaigners dedicated to the safety of journalists and media staff.

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