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Reporters Without Borders: 2005 Was Deadliest Year for Journalists in a Decade

A top international group defending the rights of journalists says that 2005 was the deadliest year for the profession in a decade.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, in its annual report, says 63 journalists and five media assistants were killed worldwide last year. It says 120 journalists are currently in prison for exercising their profession.

In the report, issued on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, the group cites Iraq as the deadliest area for journalists.

It says governments frequently resort to assault and intimidation to control the flow of news. It says more than one thousand journalists were attacked or threatened last year.

The group cites China and Cuba as two countries with the largest number of imprisoned journalists.

Reporters Without Borders says 15 journalists and six media assistants have been killed this year.

The group cites subpoenas to reporters for their notes and sources in western Europe and the United States as a threat to journalists.

The Council of Europe is also marking the day. It is calling on its 46 member countries to end the criminal prosecution of journalists for libel.

Council Secretary-General Terry Davis says two thirds of the group's member-states maintain criminal penalties for defamation, which amount to intimidation and censorship.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.