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RSF campaign targets tourists

(RSF/IFEX) - 27 October 2011 - Reporters Without Borders is launching a new awareness campaign today, one aimed at drawing the attention of holidaymakers to free speech and freedom of information problems in Thailand, Vietnam and Mexico.

"This campaign's aim is to make people think before they set off for the sun," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. "We are not calling for a boycott of these destinations but we want travellers to see what is behind the scenes. We have chosen three countries that are a paradise for vacationers and a hell for journalists: Mexico, Vietnam and Thailand.

"The palm trees, beaches and temples often conceal harsh treatment of journalists and bloggers. We advocate responsible tourism. It is your choice where you take your vacation but it is our duty to tell you where you are venturing."

Eighty journalists have been killed in the past 10 years in Mexico. Covering drug trafficking has become a risky activity there. Murders of journalists go unpunished so nothing stops the killers from continuing to ply their trade.

Many subjects are taboo in Thailand and Vietnam. Criticising their rulers or exposing the corruption that permeates the upper levels of government can land you in jail for 15 or 20 years.

The campaign consists of three visual ads that will be placed in magazines and in free press publications covering all of France, and on the Internet. A dedicated website, http://www.censorship-paradise.com , will support the entire campaign, which will be relayed by Reporters Without Borders' international bureaux and will be circulated to its network of correspondents all over the world.

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