Reporters Without Borders
Paris, 2 January 2008

(more detailed figures in the PDF enclosed)


- 86 journalists killed in 2007 - up 244% over five years
- Iraq, Somalia and Pakistan the most deadly countries
- At least two journalists arrested each day in 2007
- More than 2,600 websites and blogs shut down in a year

In 2007:

86 journalists and 20 media assistants were killed
887 arrested
1,511 physically attacked or threatened
67 journalists kidnapped
528 media outlets censored


37 bloggers were arrested
21 physically attacked
2,676 websites shut down or suspended

In 2006
- 85 journalists and 32 media assistants were killed
- 871 arrested
- 1,472 physically attacked or threatened
- 56 journalists kidnapped
- 912 media outlets censored

The number of journalists killed has risen 244% in five years

At least 86 journalists were killed around the world in 2007. The figure
has risen steadily since 2002 - from 25 to 86 (+ 244%) - and is the
highest since 1994, when 103 journalists were killed, nearly half of
them in the Rwanda genocide, about 20 in Algeria's civil war and a dozen
in the former Yugoslavia.

More than half those killed in 2007 died in Iraq.

Response of Reporters Without Borders :

"No country has ever seen more journalists killed than Iraq, with at
least 207 media workers dying there since the March 2003 US invasion -
more than in the Vietnam War, the fighting in ex-Yugoslavia, the
massacres in Algeria or the Rwanda genocide.

"The Iraqi and US authorities - themselves guilty of serious violence
against journalists - must take firm steps to end these attacks. Iraqi
journalists are deliberately targeted by armed groups and are not simply
the victims of stray bullets. The Iraqi government cannot immediately
stop the violence but it can send a strong signal to the killers by
doing all it can to seek them out and punish them.

"Somalia and Pakistan saw more journalists killed than they have for
several years. Somalia is still very much a country of outlaws where the
strongest rule and the media are easy targets. Journalists in Pakistan
are caught in the crossfire between the army, Islamist militants and
criminal gangs. The only good news of the past year is that for the
first time in 15 years no journalists were killed in Colombia because of
their work."

All 47 journalists killed in Iraq were, except for a Russian reporter,
Iraqis who mostly worked for the local media and were deliberately
targeted. The motive was often hard to pinpoint but was always linked to
their work or the media outlet that employed them. Armed groups targeted
journalists sympathising with their religious rivals and those working
for organs connected with foreign media or funded by foreigners. The
government displayed alarming inertia and has not yet found a way to
stop the violence, except for allowing journalists to carry arms to
defend themselves.

Eight journalists were killed in Somalia in a wave of attacks in one of
the country's deadliest years in a decade, when Islamist militants
fought transitional government troops and their ally Ethiopia. Foreign
media mostly avoid Somalia and local journalists are thus in the front
line facing violence and anarchy.

Four of the eight killed in 2007 were murdered by hitmen and three of
the four were major media figures, including the co-founder of Radio
HornAfrik, a well-known commentator and the head of the Shabelle Media
press group. Most independent media figures have since fled the country
and journalists in Mogadishu fear the city will soon be known as "Little

Six journalists were killed in Pakistan, where suicide attacks and heavy
fighting between the army and Islamist militants partly accounted for
2007's higher toll. Muhammad Arif, of TV station Ary One World, was
among 133 people killed in the suicide attack on opposition leader
Benazir Bhutto's motorcade in Karachi in October. Another such attack
aimed at a government minister in April killed 28 people, including
young freelance photographer Mehboob Khan.

Noor Hakim, of the Urdu daily Pakistan and vice-president of the Tribal
Union of Journalists (TUJ), was killed in June in the northwestern
Bajaur Agency tribal area. Javed Khan, a cameraman with DM Digital TV,
was killed while covering an attack in July on Islamabad's Red Mosque by
security forces.

Three journalists were killed in Sri Lanka, where fighting increased
between security forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. Troops and paramilitary
forces waged a dirty war on Tamil journalists, especially in Jaffna. The
daily paper Uthayan was once again a special target in 2007, with a
young journalist murdered and a sub-editor kidnapped. Two other
journalists were killed in government-controlled areas.

Two journalists were killed in Eritrea, which is at the very bottom of
the current Reporters Without Borders worldwide press freedom index. One
was Fessehaye Yohannes ("Joshua"), one of the country's leading
intellectuals, who died in prison at the beginning of the year, probably
because of very harsh prison conditions. A few months later, another
journalist, Paulos Kidane, died of exhaustion a few kilometres from the
Sudanese border while trying to flee the country. He had been imprisoned
and tortured a year earlier.

Fewer media assistants (fixers, drivers, interpreters, technicians,
security staff) were killed in 2007 (20) than in 2006 (32).

Unlike other organisations, Reporters Without Borders only counts media
workers it is sure have been killed because of their work. Several
deaths have not been included, either because they are still being
investigated or because they were not connected with press freedom (such
as accidents or other circumstances).

Two key trials in 2008

About 90% of murders of journalists go entirely or partly unpunished.
Governments often play for time and count on fading public memory to
protect the killers. Reporters Without Borders is fighting against such
impunity year after year with constant campaigns focusing on old cases.

In 2007, the organisation condemned the authorities in Burkina Faso,
nine years after the murder of journalist Norbert Zongo, for abandoning
the investigation of his death while there was clear evidence involving
members of the presidential guard. It also strongly condemned obstacles
put in the way of the enquiry into the December 2004 murder in Gambia of
journalist Deyda Hydara, its correspondent there, whose death has also
been linked to the president.

Reporters Without Borders also called for the mandate of the future
international tribunal for Lebanon to be expanded to cover all the
killings in the country since 2004, including those of journalists
Gebran Tueni and Samir Kassir, who were murdered in 2005.

Response of Reporters Without Borders :

"The battle to punish those who kill journalists is vital and two key
trials will be held in 2008 - of the suspected killers of Hrant Dink in
Turkey and Anna Politkovskaya in Russia. The two murders, committed on
the fringes of Europe, must be conducted in an exemplary manner and both
the hitmen and those who ordered the crime must be severely punished.
The outcome of these trials will partly affect the future of not just
Turkish and Russian journalists but also all those who make sensitive
investigations in dangerous countries."

Hrant Dink, editor of the Turkish-Armenian magazine Agos, was killed on
19 January 2007 in the street in Istanbul. His killers were probably
Turkish ultra-nationalists and the trial of the presumed hitmen which
will resume on 11 February 2008 may identify all those responsible and
expose their suspected links with the security forces.

The trial of those who murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya is
also expected and the government must end the failure to punish the
killers of a long list of journalists. Eighteen have been murdered since
President Vladimir Putin was elected in 2000 and Politkovskaya was the
most recent one. Only one of the 18 cases has been solved and those
responsible put on trial..

At least two journalists arrested each day in 2007

135 journalists were in prison around the world on 1 January 2008 and
the figure has hardly shrunk for several years. Those freed are
immediately replaced by new journalist prisoners. At least 887 were
arrested in 2007, mostly in Pakistan (195), Cuba (55) and Iran (54).

Response of Reporters Without Borders

"About 30 governments continue to imprison journalists they dislike and
rulers who belong to a past era still see this as the only answer to
media criticism. We call for the immediate release of the 135
journalists in prison around the world.

"Kidnappings of journalists also increased in 2007 and became very
common in Iraq and Afghanistan, where several victims were executed by
their captors. Governments must fight these crimes by trying those

China (with 33 in jail) and Cuba (24) have been the world's two biggest
prisons for journalists over the past four years. Their governments free
one every now and then, at the end of their sentences, but others
replace them immediately.

Seven more journalists were arrested in Azerbaijan in 2007, to make a
total of eight in prison, showing how far press freedom has been eroded
there and how the regime has cracked down on the most critical

65 cyber-dissidents are also in prison for speaking out on the Internet,
with China the main culprit (50 imprisoned). Eight are in jail in
Vietnam, and in Egypt, young Internet user Kareem Amer was given a
four-year prison sentence for criticising President Hosni Mubarak on his
blog and criticising the hold of Islamists on the country's

Imprisonment is not the only way to gag a journalist and at least 67
media workers were kidnapped in 15 countries in 2007. The worst place to
be was still Iraq, where 25 were seized. Ten were executed by their
kidnappers. In Afghanistan, two assistants of Italian journalist Daniele
Mastrogiacomo, who was kidnapped in March, were killed by their captors.
Five journalists were kidnapped in Pakistan, some by security forces,
but were later freed unharmed.

At least 14 journalists are still being held as hostages, all of them in

More than 2,600 websites and blogs shut down

The governments of China, Burma and Syria are trying to turn the
Internet into an Intranet - a network limited to traffic inside the
country between people authorised to participate. At least 2,676
websites were shut down or suspended around the world in 2007, most of
them discussion forums.

The fiercest censorship was in China before and during the 17th
Communist Party congress when about 2,500 websites, blogs and forums
were closed in the space of a few weeks. Syria also blocked access to
more than 100 sites and online services at the end of 2007, including
the social networking site Facebook, Hotmail and the telephone service
Skype, all of them accused by the government of being infiltrated by the
Israeli secret police.

During the October 2007 demonstrations by Buddhist monks in Burma, the
country's military rulers tried to block the flow of news being e-mailed
out of the country by cutting off Internet access. Censorship ranged
>From anti-government sites to all means of communication, including film
cameras, ordinary cameras and mobile phones.

Response of Reporters Without Borders :

"Some countries censor the Internet as much as they do the traditional
media and China is the world champion here. Its cyber-police have been
very active before every major political occasion, notably in the months
before the 2007 Communist Party congress when about 2,500 websites and
blogs, many of them political, were blocked.