Journalist killed every 5 days

2012-05-03 22:11

Brussels/Paris - A journalist has been killed every five days on average so far this year, the Reporters Without Borders (RWB) organisation warned on Thursday, as countries around the world marked World Press Freedom Day.

"Reporters Without Borders condemns the furious pace of physical attacks on news providers," the group said in a statement. "With crackdowns on protest in Arab countries, and suppression of political opposition, criticism and reporting in other parts of the world, the first four months of 2012 were especially violent."

The trend continued on Thursday, with reports from Somalia that a radio journalist had been killed there.

In Tunisia, meanwhile, the media was in the spotlight after the head of a television station was fined for broadcasting the award-winning animated film Persepolis, with a court finding him guilty of blasphemy because the movie depicted a God figure.

The case was seen as a test for press freedom in Tunisia, which was the first Arab country to oust a dictator through popular protests last year.

The Arab Spring protest wave has swept aside many leaders whom Reporters Without Borders had branded as "predators of the freedom to inform." But the group warned it still counts 41 others, with Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces among the new additions.

"The Arab springs have fallen far short of keeping all their promises and we must remain on our guard," it said.

Another country in the region, Syria, was this week rated as one of the world's most censored countries by the Committee to Protect Journalists, behind Eritrea and North Korea.

Although it scores far better on media rights, Europe must also remain vigilant on the issue, European Parliament President Martin Schulz warned.

"Whilst advocating press freedom in our external actions, we must be intransigent in upholding the highest standards at home - always repudiating political control of the media sector, media monopolies and all forms of intimidation against journalists," he said.

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