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Eighty-six journalists killed, two arrested per day, over 2600 websites shut down in 2007, says RSF

(RSF/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of an RSF press release:

PRESS FREEDOM IN 2007:
- 86 journalists killed in 2007 - up 244% over five years
- Iraq, Somalia and Pakistan the most deadly countries
- At least two journalists arrested each day in 2007
- More than 2,600 websites and blogs shut down in a year

In 2007:
86 journalists and 20 media assistants were killed
887 arrested
1,511 physically attacked or threatened
67 journalists kidnapped
528 media outlets censored

Online:
37 bloggers were arrested
21 physically attacked
2,676 websites shut down or suspended

In 2006
- 85 journalists and 32 media assistants were killed
- 871 arrested
- 1,472 physically attacked or threatened
- 56 journalists kidnapped
- 912 media outlets censored

The number of journalists killed has risen 244% in five years

At least 86 journalists were killed around the world in 2007. The figure has risen steadily since 2002 - from 25 to 86 (+ 244%) - and is the highest since 1994, when 103 journalists were killed, nearly half of them in the Rwanda genocide, about 20 in Algeria's civil war and a dozen in the former Yugoslavia.

More than half those killed in 2007 died in Iraq.

(. . . )

Fewer media assistants (fixers, drivers, interpreters, technicians, security staff) were killed in 2007 (20) than in 2006 (32).

Unlike other organisations, Reporters Without Borders only counts media workers it is sure have been killed because of their work. Several deaths have not been included, either because they are still being investigated or because they were not connected with press freedom (such as accidents or other circumstances).

Two key trials in 2008

About 90% of murders of journalists go entirely or partly unpunished. Governments often play for time and count on fading public memory to protect the killers. Reporters Without Borders is fighting against such impunity year after year with constant campaigns focusing on old cases.

In 2007, the organisation condemned the authorities in Burkina Faso, nine years after the murder of journalist Norbert Zongo, for abandoning the investigation of his death while there was clear evidence involving members of the presidential guard. It also strongly condemned obstacles put in the way of the enquiry into the December 2004 murder in Gambia of journalist Deyda Hydara, its correspondent there, whose death has also been linked to the president.

(. . . )

At least two journalists arrested each day in 2007

135 journalists were in prison around the world on 1 January 2008 and the figure has hardly shrunk for several years. Those freed are immediately replaced by new journalist prisoners. At least 887 were arrested in 2007, mostly in Pakistan (195), Cuba (55) and Iran (54).

(. . . )

At least 14 journalists are still being held as hostages, all of them in Iraq.

More than 2,600 websites and blogs shut down

The governments of China, Burma and Syria are trying to turn the Internet into an Intranet - a network limited to traffic inside the country between people authorised to participate. At least 2,676 websites were shut down or suspended around the world in 2007, most of them discussion forums.

The fiercest censorship was in China before and during the 17th Communist Party congress when about 2,500 websites, blogs and forums were closed in the space of a few weeks. Syria also blocked access to more than 100 sites and online services at the end of 2007, including the social networking site Facebook, Hotmail and the telephone service Skype, all of them accused by the government of being infiltrated by the Israeli secret police.

During the October 2007 demonstrations by Buddhist monks in Burma, the country's military rulers tried to block the flow of news being e-mailed out of the country by cutting off Internet access. Censorship ranged from anti-government sites to all means of communication, including film cameras, ordinary cameras and mobile phones.

(. . . )

To read the full report, see: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24909

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