A press release from Reporters Without Borders at the year comes to an end, and the report card doesn’t look good:
– 81 journalists and 32 media assistants were killed
– at least 871 were arrested
– 1,472 physically attacked or threatened
– 56 kidnapped
– 912 media outlets censored
Compare the casualties with 2005:
– 63 journalists and 5 media assistants were killed
– at least 807 were arrested
– 1,308 physically attacked or threatened
– 1,006 media outlets censored
RSF says this year has been the deadliest year since 1994.
And the Internet is not spared — it was tightly controlled in some countries. Reporters Without Borders issued a list in November of 13 “enemies of the Internet” (Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam).
Bloggers and cyber-dissidents in these countries were regularly thrown into prison for expressing their opinions online. Websites were closed down, made inaccessible or filtered and discussion forums had especially critical messages deleted.
About 30 bloggers were arrested during the year and held for several weeks, notably in China, Iran and Syria. Egypt appeared for the first time on the “enemies of the Internet” list for its growing crackdown on bloggers who criticised Islam or President Hosni Mubarak.
Read the details here.
One consolation is that, on Christmas Eve this year, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1738 to protect journalists operating in conflict areas.
Reporters Without Borders had collaborated with the French Foreign ministry and the effort has resulted in the quick adoption of the resolution. Read details here.
RSF’s Press Freedom Index 2006 is located here. Malaysia ranks 92 out of 168 countries on monitor, slightly worse than Angola, but is definitely better than Singapore (146th).