By: E&P Staff
In its annual review of press freedom worldwide, the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) says 2006 “was the most savage and brutal year in the history of the modern media.”
The two most dangerous places for journalists are familiar ones for the United States: Iraq and neighboring Mexico.
Iraq accounted for nearly half — 46 — of the 100 journalists murdered worldwide in 2006 because of their work.
“The murder and kidnapping of local journalists made reporting in Iraq the most dangerous assignment ever handed to the media,” declared IPI, an association of editors, media executives, and journalists.
Mexico was the second-most dangerous environment for journalists, IPI declared. Mexico accounted for seven of the 17 journalists killed in the Americas.
“There were two deaths in Venezuela, where the government is undermining private media, particularly broadcasting,” IPI noted. Three journalists were murdered in Colombia, where self-censorship and exile has arguably cut the need for drug traffickers, paramilitaries of the right and left, and corrupt officials to carry out assassinations.
Cuba remained the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, with 25 imprisoned during the year.
The Middle East is a particularly depressing environment for the press, the IPI survey concludes.
“In Lebanon, where one journalist was killed, conflict and civil unrest undermined a vibrant media,” it said. “Elsewhere, in Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria, a free press is almost entirely absent; while in Egypt and Yemen journalists were prosecuted.”
Russia is another violent place, highlighted by the murder of Novaya Gazeta investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Since 1997, IPI said, it has recorded the killing of 43 journalists in Russia.
Asia is another worrying region, according to the IPI: “In Asia, 29 journalists were killed, ten of them in the Philippines. China heavily censors Internet activity, aided by international corporations, and violent assaults on journalists rose with two killings this year. Pakistan saw four journalists killed and numerous abductions. The media’s struggle in Nepal led to political change, but reforms are still needed. With five journalists murdered, Sri Lanka’s violent past is returning.”
Four journalists were killed in sub-Saharan Africa, where censorship “suffocated the media in Zimbabwe” and virtually silence any independent journalism in Ethiopia, IPI said.
To read the full report click here.