More than 100 journalists have been killed in 2007, the World Association of Newspapers said in its half-year report on press freedom worldwide, published today.
One hundred and six journalists died on duty in 28 countries, 45 of them killed in Iraq, where 150 media workers have lost their lives since 2003.
The number of journalists killed in 2007 is approaching the record 110 deaths last year.
The report also said:
Journalists in Latin America continue to be the victims of murder, threats and harassment when investigating sensitive subjects such as corruption and drug trafficking. Government persecution and legal actions also hinder the work of the press, which nevertheless continues its unyielding battle for freedom of information.
In the Middle East and North Africa, there are a growing number of independent newspapers that do not shy away from criticising the authorities and questioning the lack of democracy. Nonetheless, the general media scene is plagued by strict government control and legal action taken against anyone who dares question those in power.
More and more journalists in sub-Saharan Africa are prosecuted and jailed on charges of “endangering state security,” whereas harsh repression through “insult laws” and criminal defamation continues. These repressive measures are the target of a new initiative from WAN and the World Editors Forum to improve conditions for journalists on the continent: the Declaration of Table Mountain, www.declarationoftablemountain.org/….
Hostility toward independent and opposition media and attempts to silence them can again be seen in parts of Europe and Central Asia. Spurious charges of “extremism” and “anti-state” criminal charges remained an effective tool to hinder critical reporting.
Asia is home to some of the most repressive regimes in the world, which suppress all dissident voices and forbid any form of independent media. Simmering ethnic, political and religious tensions exist in a number of countries.
The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom and the professional and business interests of newspapers world-wide. Representing 18,000 newspapers, its membership includes 76 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 10 regional and world-wide press groups.