Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The World's Ten Worst Enemies of the Press

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The World's Ten Worst Enemies of the Press

Article excerpt

Nigeria`s leader is dubbed the year's No. 1 tyrant in Press Freedom Day list; meanwhile, ceremonies are held to honor the world's murdered journalists

THE WORLD'S WORST enemy of the press is Gen. Sani Abacha, the leader of Nigeria, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists' worldwide ranking of the "10 Enemies of the Press."

The CPJ report was released in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day this month. William J. Orme Jr., executive director of the New York-based organization, said of the 10: "They are collectively responsible for unabating press freedom abuse that has penalized hundreds of journalists through physical attack, imprisonment, censorship, harassment and even murder."

Abacha, military dictator, was named the "press' worst enemy" for his "outrageous assault on the country's once-thriving independent press" and for "reneging on his promise to return the country to democracy." CPJ noted that 21 Nigerian journalists are behind bars, more than in any otherAfrican nation.

No. 2 in the ranking, Senior Gen.Than Shwe of Burma, heads a junta that has created a "nightmare for free expression" by outlawing fax machines, photocopiers and computer modems. Burmese people are kept in the dark even about their own government, CPJ found.

Also listed for their media repression were Cuba's Fidel Castro (ranked 4th), Jiang Zemin, president of China (9th), and the leaders of Burma, Belarus, Indonesia, `Turkmenistan, Ethiopia, Tunisia and Jordan.

Castro, CPJ said, continues his control over all media outlets despite his promise to Pope John Paul II that freedom of expression would be eased. …

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