The Truth is Dangerous

News tend to be well hidden and there are people who would do anything to keep them in the dark.

Every end of the year, Reporters Without Borders inform us about the state of journalism. This year’s conclusion is rather harrowing. Have a loot at the bare numbers from this year’s report titled The 10 most dangerous places for journalists.

66 journalists killed (16% more than in 2010)
1,044 journalists arrested
1,959 journalists physically attacked or threatened
499 media censored
71 journalists kidnapped
73 journalists fled their country
5 netizens killed
199 bloggers and netizens arrested
62 bloggers and netizens physically attacked
68 countries subject to Internet censorship

The title of the article links to a new part of the report including now also the most dangerous places for freedom of information, “the 10 cities, districts, squares, provinces or regions where journalists and netizens were particularly exposed to violence and where freedom of information was flouted.” The top ranked are:

Manama, Bahrain: “The Bahraini authorities did everything possible to prevent international coverage of the pro-democracy demonstrations in the capital, Manama, denying entry to some foreign reporters, and threatening or attacking other foreign reporters or their local contacts.”

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: During the first half of 2011 “journalists were stopped at checkpoints, subjected to heavy-handed interrogation or physically attacked.”

Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Egypt: “Foreign journalists were systematically attacked during the incredibly violent first week of February, when an all-out hate campaign was waged against the international media from 2 to 5 February. More than 200 violations were reported.”

Further we have Misrata (Libya), Veracruz state (Mexico), Khuzdar (Pakistan), The Manila, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro metropolitan areas on the islands of Luzon and Mindanao (Philippines), Mogadishu (Somalia) ,Deraa, Homs and Damascus (Syria) and Sanaa’s Change Square (Yemen).

Not only the number of killed journalists increased over the last year; similarly, there was a “43 per cent increase in physical attacks on journalists and the 31 per cent increase in arrests of netizens”. Journalists arrested showed the highest increase from 535 in 2010 to 1044 in 2011 (+95%).

Even if there are people to fight for the news to be hidden and don’t stop at killing people, it just means that it is even more important for the information to get out. Let us hope that also next year brave writers and photographers will risk their lives for the freedom of press and information.

Find out the 2011 review on the Reporter Without Border homepage.

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2 thoughts on “The Truth is Dangerous

  1. As dangerous as it is to be a news provider in some places, it may be dangerous in other ways to be a news consumer in others. In the US the vast majority of the news media (television, radio, print, and even internet ISPs) are owned by only a few huge companies. These few huge companies then exert editorial influence over the vast majority of news heard (or not heard) by the American public. This means these companies also have enormous influence over elections, public policy, the economy, and culture. We Americans then, as news consumers, are manipulated by the bias of our news media and kept ignorant of important facts regarding the world around us – particularly when our knowledge of these facts might potentially interrupt the profits of the huge companies bringing us the news. This is why many people like myself rely on a large variety of worldwide media in order to obtain a more balanced perspective.
    Unfortunately, many other people do not bother and are quite comfortable trusting their one or two domestic news sources. This is the source of many narrow points of view, narrow public policies, and narrow international policies.

    • As always I like your comment very much. What worries me most is that – taking again the US example – the internet as source of more indipendent information will soon not be that free anymore…

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