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CJFE saddened by death of Canadian journalist Michelle Lang

(CJFE/IFEX) - Toronto, December 31, 2009 - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is deeply saddened by the death of Canadian journalist Michelle Lang in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on December 30, 2009. Lang, travelling along with four Canadian soldiers, was killed when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.

Lang, aged 34 years, worked as a journalist for the Calgary Herald, but had been seconded to CanWest News Services. She had been in Afghanistan for just two and a half weeks.

"It is with great sorrow that we hear this news of Michelle Lang's death," stated CJFE Executive Director Annie Game. "By all accounts, the Canadian media community lost a thoughtful and committed journalist. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues."

Lang is the first Canadian journalist to have been killed in the war in Afghanistan. Other journalists have been injured, including Radio Canada journalists Patrice Roy and Charles Dubois who were injured in a similar incident in 2007 and Kathleen Kenna, a reporter with the Toronto Star, who was badly injured in a hand grenade attack in 2002. In 2008, CBC journalist Mellissa Fung was kidnapped and released a month later while reporting in Afghanistan.

Hours before this latest killing of a journalist, CJFE had released its annual report which stated that 100 journalists were killed around the world in 2009. Lang's death is a bleak reminder of the risks faced by journalists every time that they go into a war zone or area of conflict to bring the story back to the public.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is an association of more than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and around the world.
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