Reporters Without Borders numbers show 2008 safer for journalists worldwide

The numbers are in for 2008, and overall, last year was better for traditional journalists, their assistants and media organizations worldwide than 2007 regarding safety and censorship.

A compilation of statistics from Reporters without Borders released Dec. 30, 2008, revealed that 60 journalists were killed in 2008, compared to 86 the preceding year, and the number of media assistants killed declined from 20 in 2007 to one last year. Arrests were down as well. In 2007, 887 journalists were detained for at least 48 hours while pursuing stories; last year, those arrested totaled 673.

Attacks and threats also declined in 2008, with 929 reported instances, compared to 1511 in 2007. Kidnappings of journalists also fell in 2008 from the preceding year, 29 vs. 67.

The group also reported the number of media organizations censored. Here, too, 2008 was better than 2007, with 353 media outlets being censored compared to 528 media organizations.

However, Reporters without Borders pointed out that with the growth of the Internet as a valuable news source, Web journalists are now being subjected to threats and violence. The group’s statistics revealed that one blogger was killed in 2008; 58 were arrested; 45 were physically attacked and 1740 Web sites were blocked, shutdown or suspended.

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