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African Freedom of Press Gets Mixed Review on World Press Day

Calling the press an "agent of change," United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan marked the thirteenth annual World Press Freedom Day by declaring his support of the universal right to freedom of expression.

According to the international group Committee to Protect Journalists, press freedom in Africa has deteriorated in the past year.

The group's Africa Coordinator, Julia Crawford, says Eritrea and Equatorial Guinea are among the top 10 countries in the world that censor their journalists the most. But she also criticized Ethiopia for the recent jailings of reporters.

Crawford says there are some countries, like Liberia, where press freedom is more hopeful. She notes that freedom of the press is an essential foundation for democracy.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says 47 journalists were killed around the world in 2005, and 11 have lost their lives so far this year.