Record 71 scribes killed worldwide in '09

UNITED NATIONS: A record 71 journalists were killed in their work around the world last year, including 33 in the Philippines, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in its survey released yesterday.

The report said the toll was driven by the mass, election-related killings in the Philippines’ Maguindanao province, the deadliest event for the press in CPJ history, and escalating violence in Somalia.

The survey titled “Attacks on the Press in 2009” noted that last year’s tally surpassed the previous record of 67 deaths set in 2007 when violence in Iraq was pervasive. Some 41 fatalities were recorded in 2008.

The survey identified 136 reporters, editors and photojournalists behind bars as of last December 1, up 11 from 2008.

As in the previous 10 years, China remained the world’s worst jailer of journalists last year — 24 held, including 22 freelancers — followed by Iran, Cuba, Eritrea and Myanmar. Four journalists were killed in Pakistan. At least 51 journalists were murdered.

Three murders were recorded in Russia, two in Mexico and two in Sri Lanka.