The Year and The Week in Free Press Violations
By Global Journalist Staff Posted May 2 2011
In honor of World Press Freedom Day several organizations that monitor free press violations released annual reports this week.International Press Institute’s annual World Press Freedom Review focused on the Americas this year. The report showed an increase in violence targeting journalists in the Americas—particularly Honduras and Mexico. Those two countries alone accounted for nearly a quarter of all journalists killed last year, the report found.
The report also found that, contrary to popular notions, some of the most dangerous places for working journalists in 2010 were not war zones, but areas a little further away from the media spotlight.
“It’s a front line littered with the bodies of journalists whose by-line may not appear on the pages of the world’s most prominent newspapers, and who may not file reports for the world’s most prominent broadcasters, but who are no less heroic, no less committed to the cause of gathering and transmitting news to serve the public interest in a country facing a very real, extremely violent, and often deadly conflict,” World Press Freedom Review Managing Editor Anthony Mills said in a press release.
Freedom House’s annual analysis showed that press freedom around the world has dropped to its lowest point in more than 10 years. According to their findings, only one in six people around the globe now have access to free and independent media sources.
There were also many attacks against journalists this week.
In China freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker Wen Tao has been declared missing. He was last seen a month ago when plainclothes policemen were seen detaining him. He has not been heard from since. An intensified crackdown on the press began in China in February, following several anonymous calls for a popular uprising against Chinese authorities. Some of those detained now face criminal prosecution. Many others, like Wen Tao, have simply disappeared.
In Syria on Friday, journalist Dorothy Parvaz of Al Jazeera was arrested just moments after her arrival in that country. Parvaz is one of dozens of local and international journalists detained in Syria since that country’s popular uprising began on March 15. Although most reporters have been released, several reporters—most of them nationals—remain behind bars. But journalists continue to report on the uprising there.
But, in a bit of good news — in a blow to impunity this week, a Russian court handed down a guilty verdict for the 2009 murder of freelance reporter Anastasiya Baburova. Baburova was shot and killed along with a human rights lawyer while conducting an interview. Baburova was a journalism student at Moscow State University and frequently reported for a Moscow independent newspaper on the activities of neo-Nazi groups and race-motivated crimes. Authorities found two radical nationalists guilty of her murder.