In view of the growing number of murders, acts of violence, unjust incarcerations and punitive censorship of journalists throughout the world, the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) expresses its alarm at this increase of actions against freedom of thought, speech and publication.
While declaring common cause with the rights organizatons monitoring this alarming situation, CEMA also stresses the need for a free press education campaign in the countries concerned, given the literacy and education level of most of these countries, as outlined later in this statement.
CEMA cited 2006 figures from the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), stating that in 2006, at least 55 journalists died around the world doing their jobs. The number increased from 45 in 2005.
For the fourth consecutive year, Iraq was in a category all its own as the deadliest place for journalists. The Philippines and Afghanistan ranked side by side second to Iraq, with 3 apiece.
The CPJ figures also cited an additional of 37 media support workers–interpreters, drivers, fixers and office workers– who also died in line of work since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Russia, Mexico, Pakistan and Columbia each had two journalists killed last year.
CEMA declares common cause with such organizations as Amnnesty International, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and Pen International Canada in protesting and opposing such violations of human rights wherever they may occur.
However, given the bulk of the countries where these occur are poor and not steeped in the tradition of free press as the Western World is, CEMA also calls on the organizations involved in monitoring the violence against journalists to mount an education campaign in the countries concerned.
CEMA believes such a campaign should be mounted both at the official government level and among the public to impress the critical role that a free press plays in the lives of ordinary people, keeping in mind that many of these countries have an extremely poor literacy and education level.