Last year was a tough one for journalists, particularly those who tried to report what was going on in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico or India, a new report said.
According to a statistical survey by Freedom House, a New York-based human rights monitoring group, journalists were killed, wounded, kidnapped, beaten, threatened, put out of business or otherwise harassed in the pursuit of their professional duties 452 times in 1988.The survey showed that 25 journalists were killed in 1988, including five in Afghanistan, five in Colombia, four in Mexico and four in India. Another 28 were wounded, and another 90 were beaten or "otherwise assaulted" in an effort to discourage them from their journalistic duties.
The survey also said the reported number of cases of violence against journalists and their organizations is probably understated, since some of them are too intimidated to report incidents.
The number of 1988 murders is not a record but the Freedom House "Journalism Morbidity Table" shows a growing willingness, according to the organization, by beleagured governments to "kill the messenger."
The survey showed some improvement in openness and reduced intimidation, notably in China, the Soviet Union and South Korea.
But it also had a longer list of countries where press freedom became more restricted, including India, Israel, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, South Africa, Turkey and Britain.