A total of 37 journalists were killed worldwide, the Committee to Protect
Journalists reported, "as a direct result of their work in 2001 -- a sharp
increase from the 24 killed in 2000." And while the dramatic rise in journalist
deaths is due to the war in Afghanistan where eight
journalists were killed last year, the CPJ said, many "were murdered in reprisal for their
reporting on sensitive topics, including official crime and corruption in
countries such as Bangladesh, China, Thailand and Yugoslavia.
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, kidnapped and murdered this
year in Pakistan, was not included in the count.
The committee also noted that the number of journalists in prison also jumped
from 81 in 2000 to 118 last year, following a four-year decline. China alone,
the report said, has 35 journalists in custody. Of particular concern, the
committee said, is governments citing "national-security" concerns to justify
press restrictions -- including the United States -- "or unleashing new intimidations in
countries like Zimbabwe, where journalists were denounced as 'terrorists.'"
While the committee cited success in having obtaining the release of several
journalists in Ethiopia and boosting press freedom in Yugoslavia, Syria and Sri
Lanka, CPJ executive director Ann Cooper said, "A truly global press-freedom
crisis affected journalists from China to Benin to the West Bank, making it more
difficult to safely and freely report the news."