The International Press Institute has released its World Press Freedom Review for 2005. It presents the details of what is a particularly bad year for the press.
“The high death toll for journalists continued in 2005 with 65 journalists killed. Iraq, where 23 journalists died, remains the world’s most dangerous country for the media. Journalists also died in 21 other countries, including Bangladesh, Haiti, Russia, and Somalia.”
Iraq, in fact, has seen the highest number of media deaths for 3 years running, for a total of 65 fatalities since 2003.
The IPI also noted that political demogoguery (like that from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice) is putting a damper on free speech. IPI Director Johann P. Fritz said:
“A free media has always been essential to democracy; however, 2005 saw a subtle shift in this thinking and there is now a worrying political mindset that views some of the media’s work as damaging to both the war on terror and relations with Islam.”
These figures demonstrate the risk that some journalists accept as requisite to the duty they choose to perform. Iraq’s place at the top of the danger scale is both obvious and tragic. Sadly, these numbers don’t include the tens of thousands of civilians that have been killed.