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