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Record number of journalists forced into exile in last 12 months, according to CPJ survey; Iraq and Somalia hardest hit

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ press release:

CPJ: Record Numbers of Journalists Forced Into Exile
Iraq and Somalia hardest hit

New York, June 18, 2008 - Journalists were forced into exile at a record pace in the last 12 months, with at least 82 leaving their native countries under threat or harassment, according to a survey released today by the Committee to Protect Journalists. More than half of the journalists fled the conflict-ridden countries of Iraq and Somalia.

The rate of journalists going into exile - about seven per month - is double the average that CPJ has recorded since it began compiling such data in 2001. The majority fled after being assaulted, threatened with violence, or threatened with death.

The exodus of reporters from Iraq and Somalia has thinned the reporting ranks in two important conflict zones. Kidnappings and death threats drove out at least 22 Iraqi journalists in the last 12 months, CPJ found. The Chicago Tribune's Paul Salopek told CPJ that the 21 cases of Somali journalists in exile represent "a journalist community from an entire country on the run."

"CPJ is concerned when threats, imprisonment and harassment force any journalist from his or her home, but when the media are driven out en masse as in Iraq and Somalia, a vital piece of those societies is being lost," said Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director.

Issued to mark World Refugee Day, June 20, CPJ's survey focuses on journalists who were forced to run because of their work and who remained in exile for at least three months. More information about journalists in exile is available from CPJ's Journalist Assistance program, http://www.cpj.org/journo_assist/

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpj.org

To read the full report, see: http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2008/exiles_08.html

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