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The Deadliest Nations for journalists

Last updated on: January 6, 2011 07:59 IST

Nation: Pakistan, Journalists killed: 11

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Pakistan, often referred to as 'the most dangerous country in the world', has earned another dubious distinction. In 2010, it emerged as the most dangerous country for journalists.

As many as 11 journalists were killed in the troubled country last year, according to the annual report released by Reporters Without Borders, an organisation which fights against the persecution of journalists across the world.

"The deadliest continent by far was Asia with 20 cases, and this was due above all to the heavy toll in Pakistan, where 11 journalists were killed in 2010," stated the report.

In Pakistan, said the report, "Journalists continued to be targeted by Islamist groups or to be the collateral victims of suicide bombings".

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Image: Police and journalists surround the site of an explosion in Islamabad on April 7, 2010
Photographs: Adrees Latif/Reuters
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Nation: Iraq, Journalists killed: 7

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Iraq has turned out to be the deadliest nation for journalists in the last decade. As many as 88 journalists have been murdered in Iraq between 2000 and 2009. Only seven of the journalists were from international publications; the rest of them were local scribes.

The war-torn nation has been found to be the most dangerous nation for journalists three years in a row.

"Iraq saw a return to earlier levels of violence with a total of seven journalists killed in 2010 as against four in 2009. Most of them were killed after the United States announced that all of its combat troops had been withdrawn in August. Journalists are caught in a trap between the different sectors -- including local authorities, those involved in corruption and religious groups that refuse to accept media independence," said the report.


Image: A protester holds up a cartoon sign that reads 'Don't kill the truth' during a protest at Baghdad
Photographs: Mohammed Ameen/Reuters
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Nation: Mexico, Journalists killed: 7

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Mexico turned out to be as deadly as Iraq in 2010, with seven journalists being killed in the line of duty.

With one of the highest rates of organised crime in the world, Mexico has become an even more dangerous place thanks to the powerful crime syndicates and the drug cartel's reign of terror.

"In Mexico, the extreme violence of the drug traffickers affects the entire population including journalists, who are particularly exposed. This has a major impact on reporting, with journalists reducing their coverage of crime stories to the minimum in order to take as few risks as possible," said the report.


Image: Galia, 8, daughter of reporter Armando Rodriguez who was killed in Juarez, takes part in an event
Photographs: Gael Gonzalez/Reuters
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Nation: Philippines, Journalists killed: 4

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It was a gory year for journalists in Philippines, which witnessed four such murders this years.

The Philippines has as many as 55 unsolved journalists's murders over the last decade, and according to Reporters Without Borders, it is one of the countries where such murders keep on recurring.

 "These countries have not evolved; a culture of violence against the press has become deeply rooted there," said the report.


Image: Relatives of the people killed during a massacre, including journalists, attend a memorial service
Photographs: Reuters
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Nation: Thailand, Journalists killed: 2

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Philippines's neighbour Thailand made news this year for relentless political protests. Journalists became one of the many casualties of the violence that erupted between protestors and the government.

"In Thailand, where newspapers are able to enjoy relative independence despite recurring press freedom violations, 2010 was a very tough year. Two foreign journalists, Fabio Polenghi of Italy and Hiroyuki Muramoto of Japan, were killed in clashes between government forces and Red Shirts (supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra) in Bangkok in April and May. The shots that killed them were very probably fired by members of the army," said Reporters Without Borders.


Image: A portrait of Fabio Polenghi, an Italian journalist killed during anti-government clashes in Bangkok
Photographs: Sukree Sukplang/Reuters
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Nation: Honduras, Journalists killed: 3

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Honduras, which reported the death of three journalists in 2010, found a mention in the list compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

"Politically-motivated violence since the June 2008 coup has compounded the traditional violence of organised crime, a major phenomenon in this part of the world," said the report.


Image: A wanted poster at a police station in Honduras for murderers of journalist David Meza Montecinos
Photographs: Edgard Garrido/Reuters
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Nation: Afghanistan, Journalists killed: 1

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Reporters Without Borders notes that in countries like Afghanistan, journalists are often 'used as bargaining chips'.

"Abductions of journalists are becoming more and more frequent and are taking place in more countries. Kidnappers take hostages in order to finance their criminal activities, make governments comply with their demands, and send a message to the public. Here again, governments must do more to identify them and bring them to justice. Otherwise reporters -- national or foreign -- will no longer venture into certain regions and will abandon the local population to their sad fate," warns the agency.

As an example, it points out the case of kidnapped French journalists Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier and their three assistants, who have been "held hostage in Afghanistan since December 29, 2009".


Image: Images of Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponierare projected on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Photographs: Benoit Tessier/Reuters
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Nation: Greece, Journalists killed: 1

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Even European countries, which are financially developed and democratically stable, were scarred by violence against media personnel last year.

"Social and political instability is having an impact on the work of the media in Greece, where Sokratis Guiolias, the manager of Radio Thema 98.9, was gunned down with an automatic weapon outside his home in southeast Athens on July 19. The police suspect a far Left group calling itself Sehta Epanastaton (Revolutionary Sect) that emerged in 2009," says the report.

However, no one has been arrested for Guiolias's murder yet.


Image: A file photograph of journalist Sokratis Giolias, who was gunned down in Athens on July 19, 2010
Photographs: Reuters
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Nation: India, Journalists killed: 1

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Even India finds a mention in this uncharitable report. India, along with Brazil, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, Indonesia, Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Camron, DR Congo, Yemen and Afghanistan, witnessed one crime against journalists in 2010.

Vijay Pratap Singh, a senior reporter with The Indian Express, was critically injured in a blast outside Uttar Pradesh minister Nand Gopal Gupta's house in Allahabad on July 12, 2010. He succumbed to his injuries later.

The largest democracy in the world prides itself for granting absolute freedom to the press. But as many as seven journalists have been murdered in the last decade in India and their murderers have gone scot-free.


Image: A senior journalist addresses members of the media during a protest in Srinagar on July 10, 2010
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters
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