The Dangers of Journalism

This year's annual worldwide survey of press freedom violations reports that a record 185 journalists were in prison in 24 countries, and 27 journalists were killed during 1996 because of their profession. The report, titled "Attacks on the Press in 1996," was compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to documenting, protesting and publicizing violations of press freedom worldwide. CPJ documents in detail nearly a thousand different attempts to silence journalists and news organizations last year by imprisonment, censorship, legal harassment and physical assault. The survey also documents the actions taken by CPJ -- personal appeals of CPJ board members and staff, fact-finding missions, grassroots efforts, diplomatic channels and media campaigns -- to free and protect thousands of journalists around the world.Turkey was the worst offender for the third consecutive year, holding a record 78 journalists in prison, which is 27 more than in 1995. The next five worst press freedom offenders include: Ethiopia (18), China (17), Kuwait (15), Nigeria (8), and Myanmar (Burma)(8). 1996 added three more imprisoned journalists to 1995's 182."Turkey is once again the single most egregious example of a government that criminalizes independent reporting," said CPJ Executive Director William A. Orme, Jr. "CPJ aims to direct a harsh public spotlight at this gross abuse of press freedom." Work-related killings of journalists worldwide -- totaling 27 -- is intolerably high. However, 1996 figures are dramatically lower than 1995, when 57 journalists were killed because of their work. Algeria remains the most dangerous country for journalists, with seven assassinations, bringing the total to 59 executed journalists since rebel factions began targeting the press in 1993.The report tallies the total number of journalists killed in the past ten years -- 474 -- by region and country, and it provides overviews of the status of press freedom in five world regions and assessments of more than 100 countries. Also included in the report is a special assessment of the CIA's new legal right to subvert U.S. journalists.To obtain copies of Attacks on the Press in 1996: a Worldwide Survey, call 212-465-9344, x350. A complete on-line edition of the book is available on CPJ's web site: http://www.cpj.cpm.

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