57 Journalists Murdered in 2010
In 2010 there was a reduction of 25 percent in homicide to journalists in the world, according to the annual report of Reporters Without Borders. 51 journalists were kidnapped, 535 were arrested, 1,374 suffered physical attacks or were threatened, 504 media were censored, 127 journalists had to flee their own country, 152 bloggers and netizens were arrested, 52 were physically attacked and 62 countries were affected by the Internet censorship. These are the numbers of global persecution against freedom of press and threatens to the labor of reporters in the planet. As for murder of journalists, Asia was the most dangerous region with for the media with 20, followed by the Americas with 13, in Africa 10, in the Middle East 10 and Europe 4.
The RWB report concludes that there was a meaningful reduction in the number of homicides this year in comparison with 2009 when 76 journalists lost their lives under the action of violent groups or individuals due to their job. Although there is a reduction in the murder of journalists in war zones, there is an increase in the number of reporters murdered by violent gangs, armed groups, religious organizations or state agents, according to RWB.
The RWB secretary general Jean-François Julliard said to this regard on their website:
‘Fewer journalists were killed in war zones than in preceding years. Media workers are above all being murdered by criminals and traffickers of various kinds. Organized crime groups and militias are their leading killers worldwide. The challenge now is to rein in this phenomenon. The authorities of the countries concerned have a direct duty to combat the impunity surrounding these murders. If governments do not make every effort to punish the murderers of journalists, they become their accomplices.
Kidnapping journalists is increasing as well. In 2008 there were 29 cases, says RWB, in 2009 there were 33 kidnapped journalists and, this year, the number reached 51.
Although journalists are hold in conflicts like outside observers and their point of view is considered neutral as reporters for the public opinion, violent groups are taking direct actions against journalists in many countries with the purpose to control the development of information in their favor.
‘Kidnappers take hostages in order to finance their criminal activities, make governments comply with their demands, and send a message to the public. Abduction provides them with a form of publicity. Here again, governments must do more to identify them and bring them to justice. Otherwise reporters – national or foreign – will no longer venture into certain regions and will abandon the local population to their sad fate’, said Julliard.
RWB reported that 25 countries registered murders of journalists due to their profession. It states also that it is the first year that this crime has affected too many nations.
The most dangerous continent for journalists this year was Asia with 20 murders, 11 of them in Pakistan.
Seven of the countries were journalists were reported killed were in Africa: Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda. It makes the 30 percent of total countries.
Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, and Somalia were once more in the list of countries where journalists have been killed in the past decade. RWB concludes that these countries have not evolved; a culture of violence against the press has become deeply rooted there. From these, Pakistan, Iraq and Mexico became the most deadly countries for journalists in the past ten years.
In Pakistan, journalists are often threaten by Islamic groups or become collateral victims of suicide bombers. In Iraq 7 journalists were killed this year.
In Mexico journalists are trapped in the War on Drugs after the government of Felipe Calderon declared the war against the drug lords in the country. In Honduras three journalists were murdered in a political motivated violence. In Thailand two foreign reporters, Italian Fabio Polenghi and Japanese Hiroyuki Muramoto, were killed during the clashes between government forces and the Red Shirts supporters of ex-Primer Minister T. Shinawatra.
Four journalists were reported killed in Europe, two of them in countries of the European Union: Greece and Latvia. The political instability in Greece caused that the manager of Radio Thema 98.9 was murdered outside his home in Athens on July 19, probably by a far-left group known asRevolutionary Sect. The editor of the Million Newspaper and owner of a local television in Latvia, Grigorijs Nemcovs, was killed in the city of Daugavpils on April 16.
The Internet was not out of threats to the freedom of press during 2010, according to RWB. Harassement of bloggers and netizens (a person actively involved in online communities), has become a common place in many countries. Cyber-attacks, for example, became a way to silence certain online media from expressing their opinions or reporting information. Even democratic countries are looking the way to adapt new laws to threat the freedom of press on the Internet, points out RWB.
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