Violence against Journalists Rises

Article excerpt

ATTACKS on journalists rose to record levels last year as repressive governments turned to violence rather than prison terms to silence critics, the head of the International Federation of Newspaper Publishers said May 30.

"This clearly is due, in part, to the increasing need for governments to be more covert in their repression of independent and objective voices, as the international climate has changed," K. Prescott Low said at the start of the group's three-day congress.

At least 60 journalists were killed worldwide in 1993, and 30 other deaths were under investigation, Low said. More than 2,000 attacks, including arrests, assassinations, and raids on newspaper offices were recorded - 23 percent more than in 1992.

So far this year, at least 24 journalists have been killed in 11 countries. Conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, the former Soviet Union, and Turkey accounted for most of the deaths, but killings of reporters covering organized crime, the mafia, and drug gangsters were also on the rise, Low said.

"Human rights, freedom, and democratic development appear to be in retreat, while violence, repression, civil strife, ethnic intolerance, and religious fundamentalism are on the increase," Low said.

Worldwide, 120 journalists are in prison, 21 in China alone.

Freedom of the press in Western democracies is also threatened, "though . …