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A new monument unveiled last week in the heart of London, U.K., pays tribute to journalists and media workers killed in the course of their jobs. The 10-metre-high glass sculpture "Breathing" atop the BBC's headquarters in London was unveiled by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 16 June.

The sculpture, commissioned by the BBC, is an inverted glass cone bearing the words of a poem by former war correspondent James Fenton. For half an hour each evening, it shines a light 900 metres into the sky as "a solemn reminder of those who have lost their lives giving voice to the voiceless," Ban said at the unveiling.

Two of the BBC's journalists, Abdul Samad Rohani in Afghanistan and Nasteh Dahir Farah in Somalia, were killed this month.

The International News Safety Institute (INSI) estimates that two journalists have died every week in the past 10 years. The latest victim is Iraqi journalist Muhieddin Abdul-Hamid, a local anchor for the state-run television station al-Iraqiya. Abdul-Hamid, who had reportedly received death threats, was killed on 17 June in a drive-by shooting soon after he left his home in Mosul, reports Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Abdul-Hamid's death brings the number of media workers killed in Iraq to 216 since the start of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, says RSF.

Visit these links:
- BBC:
- Ban Ki-Moon's remarks at the unveiling:
- INSI list of journalist and media worker casualties in 2008:
- Democracy Now! interview with INSI director:
- RSF:
- Associated Press on Abdul-Hamid:
(Photo courtesy of INSI)

(24 June 2008)

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