GENEVA, PEC, December 17 – According to the Press Emblem Campaign monitoring system (the PEC Ticking Clock), never before has so many journalists been killed in one year, the total up to date is 110 as compared with 96 in 2006 and 68 in 2005.

Therefore the 2007 year causality figure reflects a marked by a new deterioration for freedom of the press world wide.

This year’s tally represents a 14 percent increase over the 2006 figure.

In total journalists have been killed in 27 countries led by those killed in Iraq, the most dangerous, for the fifth consecutive year, with 50 journalists killed this year against 48 last year and at least 250 since the war was launched in Iraq in March 2003.

The situation in Iraq represents an unprecedented situation of collective slaughter and punishment of members of the media profession.

Somalia comes second to Iraq which witnesses a brutal deterioration in the security conditions for the profession, 8 journalists killed this year against one last year.

Sri Lanka ranks third, seven journalists killed this year against four last year due to the intensity of the civil war.

In addition, the continued deterioration is clear in Pakistan where 5 journalists were killed; both Afghanistan and the Philippines have seen four journalists killed in each country.

Haiti, Columbia and Mexico flag at the Sixth, seventh and eighth positions with three killed in each country.

The tally continues: Nepal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Eritrea, and India and Guatemala: two journalists killed in each country.

During 2006 Mexico was one of the most dangerous places for journalists with eight journalists killed. This year’s PEC monitoring of the situation shows an improvement in the situation.

One journalist was killed in each of the following countries: Honduras, Uzbekistan, Salvador, Burma/Myanmar, United States, Paraguay, Gaza, Zimbabwe, Russia, Peru, Brazil, Ghana and Turkey.

It is clear that the majority of journalists killed were killed in conflict zones: Iraq,

Sri Lanka, Somalia and Afghanistan.

69 journalists of the total of 110 killed in 2007 were killed in those four dangerous conflict zones.

PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen noted that the increase in the number of victims among journalists is directly linked to the coverage of major conflict marked by grave human rights violations of major dimensions.

In other situations, journalists were targeted because of their political opinion, or because their coverage, the living example is that of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaia killed last year in October 2006, and others like Hrant Dink killed January 19 this year in Istanbul, Turkey, Edward Chikombo killed one April 2007 in Zimbabwe, Francois Latour on 23 May, 2007 in Port-au Prince (Haiti), Serge Maheshe, of Radio Okapi, on 13 June, 2007 in Bukavu, the DRC, and the Japanese reporter Kenji Nagai, on 27 September 2007 in Rangoun during the peaceful demonstrations that were followed by a brutal crackdown.

In order to face this increasing deterioration in the security situation surrounding the media profession, the PEC has launched a global campaign on a draft international convention for the protection of journalists in conflict zones, civil unrest and other situations.

The PEC has sent out the draft convention to representatives of UN member states in Geneva.

PEC President Hedayat Abdel Nabi stressed that this draft convention, a wide ranging exercise prepared by the PEC Board, could be the basis of improved national legislation and could expand to include other matters like wage, insurance and housing rights.

Those are issues, she added, that gravely affect the human security of freelance journalists and are real issues in developing countries.

“When ratified, the draft Convention, shall stand as a tribute to all journalists and media workers under attack, who are directly or indirectly targeted, and are part of the news for sometime then forgotten,” added Abdel Nabi.

The PEC President noted that this draft when adopted will be a token gift for those journalists who have risked their lives, their families and their sacred profession to uncover the truth, to ensure that victims are reached, and to guarantee freedom of opinion and expression.


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