Hiro Muramoto

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Japanese reporter Mika Yamamoto was killed after being caught in gunfire in Aleppo, Syria. (AFP/NHK News)

My colleagues and I were saddened to learn of the death of Mika Yamamoto, a Japan Press video and photo journalist who was killed while covering clashes in Aleppo, Syria, on Monday. The moment was all the more poignant because of the similarities with two other Japanese journalist fatalities: Kenji Nagai of APF News in Burma in 2007 and Hiro Muramoto of Reuters in Thailand in 2010. As with Yamamoto, Nagai and Muramoto were photojournalists covering conflict between anti-government elements and government troops in foreign countries.

Reuters

New York, March 24, 2011--A Thai police investigation concluded today that government security forces did not kill Reuters photographer Hiro Muramoto, left, during political violence in Bangok on April 10, 2010. But the Committee to Protect Journalists, expressing concerns that the investigation was not transparent, has called for a full, independent investigation into the Japanese journalist's death.

Reuters
Bangkok, February 28, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by inconsistencies in Thailand's official investigation into the killing of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto, who was killed by gunfire while covering clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces last April 10 in Bangkok.

Thailand's Department of Special Investigation told reporters today that its investigations showed that Muramoto was apparently not shot by security forces. The findings contradict the state agency's preliminary conclusions about the journalist's death released and reported by news agencies late last year. Those findings indicated the shots that hit Muramoto came from a direction where troops were positioned at the time and were fired from an M-16 assault rifle. The agency denied it had been pressured to clear the army of responsibility.

At least 42 journalists are killed in 2010 as two trends emerge. Suicide attacks and violent street protests cause an unusually high proportion of deaths. And online journalists are increasingly prominent among the victims. A CPJ special report

A December suicide attack in Pakistan's Mohmand tribal district claimed the lives of two journalists. (Reuters/Umar Qayyum)
Reuters
New York, December 10, 2010--Investigators in Thailand now believe that troops may have been responsible for the shooting death of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto, at left, on April 10, according to a leaked preliminary state probe by Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DSI), Reuters reported from Bangkok today.

Thai government investigators said in the report that the death of Muramoto, a 43-year-old Japanese national based in Tokyo, "was caused by a high-velocity bullet as gunfire flashed from the direction of soldiers." Thailand's government has not released the report into Muramoto's death despite intense diplomatic pressure from Japan.
Colleagues try to pull NBC soundman Bill Latch to safety during violence in Bangkok 25 years ago. Latch and correspondent Neil Davis died in the unrest. (Reuters)

The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) hosted a memorial Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the deaths of NBC cameraman correspondent Neil Davis and soundman Bill Latch. The two journalists were killed by military fire on September 9, 1985, while covering a failed coup attempt in the Thai capital. 

Two journalists died and several others were injured during the country’s political unrest. A CPJ investigation has found that both security forces and protesters engaged in reckless behavior—and in the aftermath, the government has done little to bring anyone to account. A CPJ special report by Shawn W. Crispin

A still image taken from video shot by Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto shortly before he was killed. (Reuters)



Reuters produced this video shortly after its cameraman Hiro Muramoto was killed while covering unrest in Bangkok on April 10. The video includes Muramoto's last footage, taken just before he was shot.

Read CPJ's special report on the death of Muramoto and other press casualties, "In Thailand unrest, journalists under fire."

Thailand's Washington-based embassy issued an official reply to CPJ's June 7 letter addressed to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in which we expressed our concerns about the country's deteriorating security situation for journalists. CPJ's letter highlighted in particular our concerns about two journalists—Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto and freelance photographer Fabio Polenghi—who were killed while covering recent clashes between anti-government protestors and security forces.

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