Eighty-one journalists and media staffers were killed worldwide in 2006, making it the deadliest year for reporters in more than a decade, Reporters Without Borders said Thursday.
Iraq was the most dangerous country for journalists last year, with 39 reporters and 26 other media workers killed, the Paris-based media advocacy group said.
It was the most dangerous year for journalists since 1994, which was marked by the Rwandan genocide, civil war in Algeria and conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
Worldwide, 871 journalists spent time in jail in 2006, and China put more reporters behind bars than any other country, the report said. Thirty-two journalists were jailed in China last year. Cuba jailed 24 and Ethiopia 21.
Reporters Without Borders raised concerns about democratic countries having “little ambition, and sometimes even giving up, in defending the values they are supposed to embody.”
During the international uproar over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, the international community did little to help journalists who were threatened or arrested, the report said.
“It was as if, fearing a fight with Arab and Muslim regimes, Europe, for one, renounced all desire to make itself heard,” the report said.
The Muhammad drawings were first published in September 2005 in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and were reprinted four months later by a range of Western publications, triggering massive protests from Morocco to Indonesia and some attacks on Danish embassies.