Year’s toll of journalist put at 56 so far in 2010

At least 56 journalists have been killed in the first eight and a half months of 2010, and media employees worldwide continue to face physical violence and persecution of all kinds, whether from public officials, criminals or terrorists, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers said in its annual review of press freedom.

Assaults are daily – and often deadly – for those who challenge governments, report on conflicts or investigate corruption and crime, said the report, presented to the Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, meeting in Hamburg, Germany. At least 120 media employees were in jail as of mid-September 2010, most often following sham trials or without charges having been brought against them. Hundreds more have been forced into exile.

The report said of Latin America:

Media professionals face serious threats from both governments and powerful crime syndicates. Organized crime and high-level corruption remain the most sensitive subjects for journalists, in a continent where a deep-rooted culture of impunity prevails and where authoritarian and populist regimes do not tolerate scrutiny or dissent. Mexico, where the government’s war against powerful drug cartels continues, remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists worldwide. No less than eight journalists have been murdered since the beginning of the year. In the past months, media based in the northern part of the country have refused to cover any event related to the war on drug trafficking, resulting in widespread self-censorship and major news blackouts.

The organization, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organization of the world¹s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.

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