Iraqi journalist Atwar Bahjat was killed in Samarra in February 2006 (file photo) (AFP)
February 1, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- International media freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says 2006 was the deadliest year for journalists in more than decade, and was also marked by a high number of arrests and imprisonment of journalists.
In its annual report, the Paris-based group said 81 media staffers died in the course of their work last year, 65 of them in Iraq. The death toll was the highest since 1994, a year of conflicts in Rwanda, Algeria, and the former Yugoslavia.
The report says 871 journalists spent time in jail last year, with the highest number of arrests in China, Cuba, and Ethiopia.
The group also raised concerns about media freedoms and the risk of self-censorship in democratic countries.
It said that democratic governments did little to defend journalists who were threatened during international uproar over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark.