Rise in journalists targeted for “extremism” and “treason”

Some 59 journalists have been murdered in the first half of this year and prosecution of journalists for “treason” and “extremism” are on the rise, according to, the annual half-year review of press freedom by the World Association of Newspapers.

The report, presented Saturday to the Board of the Paris-based WAN on the eve of the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, painted a grim picture of attacks, imprisonment and murder facing journalists in many countries.

The report said: ‘The past six months have brought another disturbingly high death toll of journalists and media professionals, killed both in and outside of conflict zones.

‘A quasi-total impunity still prevails throughout the world and most notably in Central and Latin America, but also in the war-torn Iraq and in Russia.

“Administrative and legal harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions have remained a pattern to suppress press freedom in countries as diverse as Belarus, Egypt, Zimbabwe, China or Vietnam. As for death threats, they continue to reach investigative reporters, whether they work in Haiti or in Croatia.

“Whereas criminal defamation was still broadly used against journalists over the past six months, cases of prosecution on the severe charges of ‘treason’ or ‘extremism’ seemed to be on the rise.

“New court and search cases throughout Europe and in the United States came to confirm the urgency to provide for a clear legal protection of journalists confidential sources.”

According to WAN Iraq remains the most deadly country, with 26 journalists killed.

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