2009 a Deadly Year for Journalists

Epoch Times14. Januar 2010 Aktualisiert: 14. Januar 2010 0:20

Wars and elections presented the greatest threats to journalists during 2009. According to a report from Reporters without Borders, covering conflicts in certain countries puts reporters at risk of being threatened into silence or, in worse cases, kidnapping and murder.

Reporting during elections can get journalists arrested, imprisoned, beaten or forced into exile. One such example is last summer’s Iranian election.

[Jesper Bengtsson, Reporters Without Borders President]:
“It has been a disastrous year for press freedom in the world. More journalists, for a very long time, have been killed, more journalists have been imprisoned.”

[Jesper Bengtsson, Reporters without Borders Swedish President]:
“They have imprisoned over one hundred journalists, they have closed down a number of newspapers and, as I said, they blocked a lot of Internet websites. They have tried to deny access to radio programs from abroad.”

In the past year, the number of journalists killed rose by 26 percent, with the killings mostly occurring in the reporter’s country of residence. Kidnappings also jumped, with most cases seen in Afghanistan.

New media are playing a key role in upholding freedom of speech. However, 100 bloggers and cyber dissidents were imprisoned worldwide for speaking their mind on the internet.

[Jesper Bengtsson, Reporters without Borders Swedish President]:
“Governments who don’t want freedom of speech have been more eager to filter the information on Internet, to put blocks on certain websites.”

Internet was a driving force for democracy movements in countries like Iran and China. China had the most internet censorship during 2009, while other countries such as Iran, Tunisia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam were contenders.

At the end of last year, at least 167 journalists were imprisoned around the world. The figure hasn’t been so high since the 1990s.

The UN Rapporteur on freedom of opinion considers prison terms an unfair punishment for press crimes, but many governments still have laws that allow the imprisonment of journalists. In China, Cuba, Sri Lanka and Iran, journalists face the same kind of punishment as people convicted of terrorism or violence.

NTD News, Stockholm, Sweden.

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