By: Mark Fitzgerald
The leaders of Russia, North Korea and China are named among 40 “predators of press freedom” as Reporters Without Borders marked World Press Freedom Day Monday.
Included on the list are armed groups of widely varying political slants, often terrorizing journalists in the same territory. So the leftist FARC guerrillas in Colombia are named along with the extreme right-wing Black Eagles paramilitary. The forces of Israel and the Palestinian Territory share the predator label.
One of the predators, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is actually at the United Nations in New York City on Press Freedom Day, an event supported by the UN.
There are well-known names such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-il and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
But there are also more obscure offenders. “It was hard not to put the Philippines’ private militias top of the list after the local governor’s thugs massacred around 50 people, including 30 journalists, in Maguindanao province on 23 November 2009,” said the announcement from Paris-back RSF (for its initials in French). “The ensuing convoluted judicial proceedings betray a lack of political will to try those responsible, whose political support is too important for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Impunity is prevailing yet again.”
One thing all the so-called predators have in common, RSF adds: They “cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.”
See all the predators, here.