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2011 a bad year for the free press
As the world’s conflicts continue to boil, reporters and photographers around the globe put themselves in ever-more dangerous situations in order to tell readers, listeners and viewers what’s going on. 2011 was no exception. Quite the contrary. When the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, on Tuesday delivered its annual report about journalists killed while on the job, it showed that year became the deadliest of all since CPJ started its count. At least 46 journalists were killed, many of them victims in the revolt in the Arab world, though Pakistan holds the position as the single country where most died, seven journalists.
It’s a sad report, and one wonders if the high number is an exception, or if it is a turning point for the worse. Of course, few would have guessed a few years back that dictators like Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and, maybe in i few months, Assad in Syria would be out of office today. The uprising in the Arab world is perhaps the greatest event of its time, and is itself indeed a promising sign that people, working together, can achieve what was viewed as impossible just moments ago.
But it comes with a price, as with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With events like these to cover, with the kind of deeds that always occur behind the curtains and clouds of conflict, it is more important than maybe ever before that the press can operate freely. For at least 46 members of the press last year, that hope did not come true.
UPDATED: On Wednesday, February 22, two western journalists were killed in Syria.