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Top 10 Attacks on Journalists

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Telly Vlachakis Although no one can deny the fact that a journalist's job is a difficult one, many reporters face a lifetime of fear and danger. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Infamous Attacks on Journalists. For this list, though we acknowledge the fact that many journalists face constant danger, such as those involved in warzone reporting, we will be focusing on specific situations with specific media personalities that made front-page news. Special thanks to our user DaveVsTheWorld for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Attacks on Journalists

Although no one can deny the fact that a journalist's job is a difficult one, many reporters face a lifetime of fear and danger. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Infamous Attacks on Journalists.

For this list, though we acknowledge the fact that many journalists face constant danger, such as those involved in warzone reporting, we will be focusing on specific situations with specific media personalities that made front-page news.

#10: Karla Silva
September 4th, 2014

In 2014, Mexico was considered the seventh-most-dangerous country in the world for journalists, with a reported 90% of crimes against reporters going unsolved. The up-and-coming correspondent for El Heraldo de Leon was finishing up her first year at her new job when she was brutally attacked at her office. What made headlines was not that the 5’2’’, under 100-pound woman survived, but that Karla Silva immediately demanded answers. Of course no real investigation occurred, but security footage from the neighborhood leaked, showing that the assailants were dropped off by a police van, hinting at a corrupt system in the state of Guanajuato.

#9: Alison Parker & Adam Ward
August 26th, 2015

The most recent entry on our list, the shooting and deaths of morning-news show correspondent Alison Parker and long-time partner and photojournalist Adam Ward will forever be remembered as some of the most violent images ever caught on live television. Most shocking seems to be that this was not a random act, but a premeditated attack by a disgruntled ex-co-worker of Parker’s at the station. The shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan II, better known by his professional name Bryce Williams, who shot himself soon after, claimed to be the victim of discrimination, after having been fired from multiple agencies due to “odd” and “volatile behavior”.

#8: Mikhail Beketov
November 13th, 2008

Reporter and newspaper publisher Mikhail Beketov was no stranger to controversy or threats. A constant fighter against corruption in his Russian town of Khimki, his opposition and criticism against the planned construction of a new motorway made him the target of many threats. After his car was set on fire and his dog was killed, Beketov, who would not step back from his coverage, was eventually brutally attacked outside of his home in November of 2008. Causing him severe brain damage, paralysis, and the loss of his leg and 4 fingers, the wheelchair-bound Beketov was then hailed as a martyr and symbol for journalists fighting for what they believe. He died in 2013 of cardiac arrest.

#7: Hamid Mir
April 19th, 2014

Known as Pakistan’s most famous TV reporter, Hamid Mir has made a name for himself interviewing many world leaders and political leaders, including, most-famously, Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. Such fame does not come without some backlash, as he has often been accused of being a Taliban-sympathizer, while extremist groups have accused him of being a CIA agent. Such controversies have amounted to a lifetime of threats from all sides, and his having been banned multiple times from TV. Although there have been many public assassination attempts made on him, Mir was eventually injured in 2014 by gunshots while on his way to work - but he survived the attack.

#6: Anna Politkovskaya
October 7th, 2006

Award-winning writer, journalist and human-rights activist, Anna Politkovskaya made a name for herself publishing her now-famous scathing articles about the conditions in war-torn Chechnya. Known as a strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Second Chechen War, Politkovskaya started gaining more attention and accolades as the war went on. She also began ignoring the numerous death threats, which led to her assassination in the elevator of her building in 2006. While 5 men were apprehended and brought to justice in 2014 for the murder of this beloved figure, no clear motive has been found, nor has the identity of the person who paid for the hit.

#5: Theo van Gogh
November 2nd, 2004

Having been most famously known during his life as the great-grandnephew of painter Vincent Van Gogh, Theo Van Gogh will now unfortunately be remembered for a more gruesome reason. A successful Dutch columnist and filmmaker, Van Gogh had completed work on a short film about the mistreatment of Islamic women with famous Somali activist and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali in 2004. Already a controversial subject in itself, what made more headlines was the very violent and public murder of Van Gogh by Muslim extremist Mohammed Bouyeri. After having been shot in the street, Van Gogh was fatally stabbed and was left for dead with a note calling for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s death as well.

#4: Lara Logan
February 11th, 2011

South African journalist and CBS foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan has spent most of her career as a war correspondent, and is therefore no stranger to how dangerous her job can be. While reporting from the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, things began to go south when Logan and her crew were arrested and detained at gunpoint on February 3rd. While blindfolded, and handcuffed, they were told to leave the country immediately. Not giving in to threats, the CBS crew continued reporting, until their battery died in the middle of a protest on the 11th. Logan was then pulled away by a group of over 200 men, her clothes were ripped off and she was sexually violated in Tahrir Square.

#3: Saeed Chmagh & Namir Noor-Eldeen
July 12th, 2007

In the worst case of mistaken identity, the accidental deaths of freelance photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and his Reuters partner Saeed Chmagh made worldwide headlines when they were killed during a wrongfully conducted airstrike. War-torn Baghdad is already unsafe for any reporters, but thanks to footage leaked by Wikileaks of the US Apache helicopter airstrike two years after the event occurred, the world learned that the reporters and the civilians around them were mistaken for Iraqi insurgents and killed with no second thought. It is reported that they were the 5th and 6th Reuters employees killed since the Iraqi invasion began in 2003, all of which were caused by American soldiers.

#2: Charlie Hebdo Shooting
January 7th, 2015

A recent event that ignited a fervent discussion regarding freedom of speech, the 2015 attacks on the French satirical magazine’s offices sparked the most violent and tension-filled moments of racial discord that France has seen in recent memory. Mostly known for their extremely controversial cartoons, Charlie Hebdo is a secular left-wing publication, which does not leave any religion, political figure, right-wing or extremist ideology unscathed. Although their offices were firebombed in 2011 due to cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, this did not deter them. The attack in 2015 left 12 dead, including its editor-in-chief, who was known as Charb, as Muslim extremists from Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen opened fire on the Paris headquarters. The magazine persevered with the iconic slogan “Je Suis Charlie”.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Journalists Beaten During Love Ulster March
February 25th, 2006
- TV Personality John Stossel Struck by Wrestler David Schultz
December 28th, 1984
- Radio DJ Gleydson Carvalho Shot on Air
August 6th, 2015

#1: Maguindanao Massacre
November 23rd, 2009

During the Philippine National Elections, a bus full of journalists and supporters of Esmael Mangudadatu was on its way to confirm his certificate of candidacy when it was ambushed. All supporters, including Mangudadatu’s family, aides and even onlookers, were kidnapped and killed. Many claim this was the doing of the opposition, Andal Ampatuan Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor and member of one of Filipino island Mindanao’s leading Muslim political clans. As the Philippines is considered one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, who are often shot and killed live on air, the Committee to Protect Journalists called the Maguindanao massacre the deadliest event for the profession ever, as a minimum of 34 were confirmed to have died on site that day.

Do you agree with our list? What other attacks still haunt your memory? For more newsworthy top 10s published daily, don’t forget to subscribe to

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