81 journalists killed in 2006
“Iraq was the world’s most dangerous country for the media for the fourth year running, with 64 journalists and media assistants killed,” RSF said. “Since fighting began in 2003, 139 journalists have been killed there, more than twice the number in the 20-year Vietnam War (63 killed between 1955 and 1975). “About 90 per cent of the victims were Iraqis. Investigations were very rare and none were completed. Unlike other organisations, Reporters Without Borders includes journalists in its death count only when it is certain that their deaths are linked to their work as journalists.
“Dozens of other cases have not been included because investigators have not yet determined the motives or because it is clear that they were not related to the issue of press freedom.” Mexico (nine deaths), the Philippines (six), Russia (three) and Lebanon (two) were among the most dangerous places to work. Â“Over 1,400 physical attacks or threats were recorded by Reporters Without Borders in 2006, which was another record. Many of them were during election campaigns in various countries,” RSF said. “Attacks on journalists in Bangladesh, already routine, became daily at the end of the year, a few weeks before key parliamentary elections, and were carried out by security forces and political party supporters.”
Important national elections took place in a dozen countries in the Americas, RSF noted.
“Reporters Without Borders had registered more than a dozen physical attacks on journalists and another dozen threats to them in Peru by early March, a month before presidential elections. In Brazil, a daily paper’s offices were ransacked on election day by supporters of a local politician in the southern town of Marilia.” Cases of censorship were slightly down, 912 against 1,006 in 2005, when Nepal had the worst record. The ceasefire there in mid-2006 gave the media a break, with the release of imprisoned journalists and many local radio stations able to freely broadcast again.
“It was impossible to get exact information on censorship in China, Burma and North Korea, countries where blanket measures were taken against the media, affecting dozens and even hundreds of outlets at the same time,” RSF said. The Internet was tightly controlled in some countries. Reporters Without Borders issued a list in November of 13 “enemies of the Internet” (Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam). “Bloggers and cyber-dissidents in these countries were regularly thrown into prison for expressing their opinions online.”
Source: The News