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Media Group Details Attacks on the World Press in 2005

This is Shep O'Neal with the VOA Special English Development Report.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has released its yearly report on press freedoms around the world. The report describes hundreds of cases of media repression, threats and other attacks on the press last year in more than fifty countries.

The group says one hundred twenty-five journalists were jailed for doing their jobs. And forty-seven were killed, down from fifty-seven the year before. Most were murdered. The report says about ninety percent of the killings went unpunished.

The group says murders of journalists in Lebanon, Libya and Iraq have changed reporting in the Middle East. Iraq is described as the deadliest conflict for reporters since the group began in nineteen eighty-one. Twenty-two journalists were killed in Iraq last year.

In Latin America, the group says "self-censorship is widespread in areas of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil." It says crime and dishonesty are strong and government agencies weak in those areas. Fewer reporters are willing to take personal risks.

In Cuba, twenty-four journalists were jailed last year. But the report says media in China remain the most firmly controlled in the world. It says thirty-two journalists were jailed there.

Last week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang defended China's restrictions on Internet use. He said it is normal for countries to try to guide the "healthy and orderly" development of the Internet.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says press freedoms suffered last year in Africa. Fifteen reporters were jailed in Eritrea and thirteen were seized in Ethiopia. The report says government repression also continued in Cameroon, Gambia and Zimbabwe.

In Eurasia, the media group says independent reporting has been "undermined" in nations such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It says the cooperation of their leaders in the American-led war on terrorism has played a part. The group says the situation has made it easier for those leaders "to justify repressive media policies in the name of security."

There was some good news for press freedom. Journalists were freed from prison in several nations, including Burma and Yemen. Community radio stations have improved freedom of information in some areas of Asia. And the Philippine government is taking some steps to deal with killing of reporters.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. Our reports are on the Web at This is Shep O'Neal.