According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 70 journalists were killed in 2009 – the worst year since record keeping began 30 years ago.
In its 2009 report “Attacks on the Press 2009,” the committee reported that 150 journalists are also imprisoned. The group stated that journalists are vulnerable to oppression due to leaders attempting to hide incriminating information and make sure it never hits the presses.
Here is an excerpt from the article (read it in its entirety here http://cpj.org/2010/02/attacks-on-the-press-2009-introduction.php) with regards to the overwhelming number of journalists oppressed in Iran:
“The hard-line leadership that coalesced around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recognized that it would pay a high price in terms of international opinion for its violent and brutal tactics, which is precisely why it shut down the foreign press corps in Tehran, expelling journalists and seeking to confine the remainder to their bureaus. Iran’s leaders viewed the media as part of an international conspiracy to discredit the election and overthrow the regime. Jailing journalists was part of this paranoid fantasy.”
In simpler terms, the Iran government is trying to save face with the rest of the world.
BBC News and the report also state that a 31-journalist massacre in the Philippines tipped the scale to overtake the previous record of 67 deaths in 2007.
China remains the leader of jailed journalists with 24 currently incarcerated. This is familiar news, as they have been the front runner in that unfortunate category for the past 10 years.
Some countries can sabotage social media, such as blogs and social networking sites – just as fast as they can jail and murder journalists.
In spite of the crimes against journalists, the article states that more light has been shed than ever on that brutal massacre. Fellow journalists joined together to help the families affected and spread awareness to this sad news.
CJP stated, as if in a resounding point of finality and solidarity, that the best way to combat the oppression is to keep adding pressure. Sadly, as long as there’s something unsavory to cover up, given the nature of countries like Iran, more of these unjust atrocities will take place.
Note: Being a journalist in a hostile nation is undoubtedly a tough job – and as an aspiring journalist, I have nothing but respect for these men and women. I like to refer to them as Soldiers With Pencils, but that’s just me.