World War II killed at least 35 million people, more than 300 times the number killed in the Iraq war, even by the highest estimates. But the number of journalists who died covering Iraq reached 75 last year — six more than the number who died, all over the globe, covering World War II.

The reasons for the greater danger to reporters in Iraq are several. One is the nature of the conflict. Some of the 23 killed last year died in mass suicide bombings. Two were shot accidentally by US troops. But the great majority, especially of Iraqi journalists, were murdered by insurgents because they reported favourably for democracy. The object, clearly, was not only to kill the offending reporters, but to intimidate others and snuff out similar reporting. For the most part, it hasn’t worked.

Thirty-six died or were killed while reporting in 21 countries last year. Some died in accidents while many were killed because of their profession. In the Philippines alone, six journalists who were exposing corruption were assassinated by gunfire. Providing the public with accurate accounts of wars, revolts, crime, and corrupt regimes has always been hazardous work — never more so than now. It is worthwhile to take a moment to honour those who have died and also to honour the many brave so-uls who have followed them into the field. — The Boston Globe