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Press Activists Decry Reporter Death Toll

Iraqi journalist Atwar Bahjat was assassinated in Samarra in February (AFP) May 31, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Global press leaders have expressed alarm about the death toll for reporters covering conflicts worldwide and have urged governments to bring those responsible to justice.

The call was issued on May 30 at the International Press Institute’s (IPI) annual congress in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

Rodney Pinder, the head of the IPI's International News Safety Institute, told RFE/RL that journalists in Iraq have become an increasingly frequent target for insurgents.

"Violence is coming from all sides, and I think particularly for journalists, the insurgents who are killing journalists -- and they are responsible for most of the deaths -- they just don’t have any sympathy with journalists," Pinder said. "They don’t want any reporting at all; and the idea of free media, free speech, free reporting, is completely anathema to them. And thus journalists of all kinds have become a target."

Iraq remains the most dangerous place for reporters, with some 23 journalists killed there last year.

(with material from AFP)

Press Under Assault

Press Under Assault


BREAKING THE NEWS: Press freedom is under assault in virtually all of the countries of the former Soviet Union. Independent media confront enormous challenges in providing citizens with the independent information that can help advance democratic reforms. On May 2, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable briefing that gave an overview of media developments in the CIS and discussed the connections between press freedom and future democratization. The briefing featured Freedom House Director of Studies CHRISTOPHER WALKER, American University Associate Research Professor ROBERT ORTTUNG, and RFE/RL Central Asia analyst DANIEL KIMMAGE.


Listen to the entire briefing (about 90 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media

RFE/RL's Press Freedom Day stories:

Iraq: Covering The Most Dangerous Beat On Earth

Afghanistan: Women In Journalism Battle Restrictions, Threats

Iran: State Maintains Tight Control Over Information

CIS: Press Freedom In Former Soviet Union Under Assault

Central Asia: Bureaucratic Obstacles Hinder Journalists

Central Asia: Governments Wary Of Independent Media

Central Asia: Journalists Still Face Harassment, Threats

THE COMPLETE STORY: To view an archive of RFE/RL's coverage of media-related stories, click here.


For regular news and analysis on media issues throughout RFE/RL's broadcast area by e-mail, subscribe to "RFE/RL Media Matters."