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More journalists jailed in 2002, but fewer killed

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    NMU         WASHINGTON, D.C.         Newsgathering    

More journalists jailed in 2002, but fewer killed

  • A study released today by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows that the number of imprisoned journalists around the world is markedly higher, while the number of those killed has dropped.

March 31, 2003 — The number of journalists incarcerated throughout the world rose to 136 by the end of 2002, according to an annual survey on press freedom released today by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

This number represents a 15-percent increase from 2001 and continues a two-year upward trend. Since 2000, the number of imprisoned journalists has risen 68 percent. At a press conference in Washington, D.C., today, CPJ representatives noted that the greatest danger usually threatens local reporters rather than foreign correspondents.

For the fourth year in a row, China leads all other countries in jailing of journalists. By the end of 2002, 39 members of the press were imprisoned in China. Eritrea, the second-ranking country, trails with a total of 18 incarcerated journalists.

The number of journalists killed as a result of their work in 2002 was 20, the lowest number recorded since CPJ began doing its study in 1985. The organization credits the decrease to a heightened awareness of journalist safety and a decline in the number of global conflicts last year.

CPJ noted that most journalists who lost their lives were killed intentionally, as reprisal for reporting on topics such as official crime and corruption. A smaller number of these deaths represents journalists covering military conflicts.

Representatives from CPJ noted that they found increased threats to journalistic freedom around the world. One increasing problem, in assorted areas of the globe, is that an atmosphere of impunity is created when attacks on reporters go unpunished. Another is that national security often is invoked by various nations as a reason for limiting access to military conflicts.

The report “Attacks on the Press in 2002,” is available on CPJ’s Web site at


© 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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