Opinion: Dangerous jobs

POSTED: 02/22/12 1:17 PM

St. Maarten is still the Friendly Island in spite of the seemingly high murder rate of 31.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011. However, for journalists the country is a safe place to work: nobody got murdered in this profession last year, or in the many years before that.
Worldwide the picture is rather somber. Since 1995, according to figures from Reporters Without Borders, 858 journalists were killed worldwide. In this respect, 2007 was the top year with 86 journalists killed. Last year 66 journalists lost their lives on the job.
The registration of these killings is apparently not a simple matter, because another organization, the Center for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), counted “at least 46” killed journalists last year.
The most dangerous countries to work in are according to the CPJ Pakistan, Iraq and Libya. Of the victims, 40 percent were cameramen.
Reporters Without Borders published this chilling list on its website about 2011:

66 journalists killed (16% more than in 2010)
1,044 journalists arrested
1,959 journalists physically attacked or threatened
499 media censored
71 journalists kidnapped
73 journalists fled their country
5 netizens* killed
199 bloggers and netizens arrested
62 bloggers and netizens physically attacked
68 countries subject to Internet censorship

• A netizen is an internet journalist. The word is a merger of internet and citizen.

The CPJ reported that last year seventeen journalists died while reporting about dangerous events. Most of these events were confrontations between protesters and government forces in the Arab world.
The counter for this year at the site of Reporters Without Borders stands at 5 journalist killed, 153 journalists imprisoned, 9 media assistants imprisoned and 120 netizens imprisoned.
The organization also released the press freedom rankings of 179 countries. Finland, Norway and Estonia are the countries with the highest level of press freedom. The Netherlands ranks fourth. There is no ranking for the former Netherlands Antilles or for countries St. Maarten and Curacao.
At number 17, Jamaica is the highest ranking regional country. Trinidad and Tobago (51), Haiti (52), Guyana (shared 59) are further down the list. The lowest ranking Caribbean nation is the Dominican Republic at 95.

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