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Media Rights Group Says 2007 Deadliest Year for Reporters in a Decade


The Paris-based watchdog group Reporters Without Borders says 2007 was the deadliest year for the media in more than a decade, with at least 86 journalists killed around the world. Lisa Bryant has more from the French capital.

2007 was not a good year to be a journalist. Besides the 86 killings - twice the number of journalists killed in 2002 and the highest toll since 1994 - Reporters Without Borders says 67 journalists were kidnapped and 135 held hostage last year.

Hundreds of journalists were also arrested, and 135 are imprisoned around the world. Countries like China and Burma have also clamped down on Internet access.

The highest number of journalists killed was in Iraq. But the head of research at the Paris-based group, Jean-Francois Julliard, says the report shows other countries - notably Pakistan and Somalia - are also increasingly dangerous places from which to report.

"Journalists are increasingly targets in conflict areas and impunity is growing because 90 percent of the killing of journalists are still unpunished, so people feel they can kill journalists without any risks because in a lot of countries they know they will never be sentenced," he said. They will never be tried."

Kidnapping is also on the rise, Julliard says, not just in Iraq, but also in places like the Palestinian territories.

"It is very hard to do something about kidnapping, because you do not have any states involved," he said. "So it is hard to put pressure on extremist groups which do not care at all about pressure."

Reporters Without Borders instead urges other political, economic or religious groups to use their influence with extremists - along with international institutions like the European Union and the United Nations.

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