Journalists Under Fire: 10 Reasons to Defend Free Speech


There are plenty of reasons to bemoan the state of U.S. journalism: shuttered foreign bureaus, the slow death by strangulation of investigative reporting, the incessant chatter of the punditocracy.

But let’s be real: although a passionate muckraker might not be able to make a decent living anymore, she can still pursue a story without fearing for her life.

Not so in many other parts of the world. If the way a society treats its journalists is a measure of how repressive it is, then 2011 has been banner year for autocrats and criminals.

The number of journalists killed increased from 2010 to 2011,and the number of those arrested nearly doubled. As protests spread across the Middle East and North Africa, so did crackdowns by security forces seeking to distort the first draft of history. Criminal violence in Latin America also took a heavy—and gruesome—toll on media freedom.  In only the first few months of 2012, 17 journalists have already been killed.

Here are 10 reasons why they need our support (all figures are for 2011, unless otherwise indicated, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders):

1. Number of journalists killed: 66

2. Top 5 deadliest countriesto be a journalist:

  • Pakistan
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • Brazil
  • Russia

3. Journalists who were physically attacked or threatened: 1,959

4. Journalists who were kidnapped: 71

5. Journalists who were arrested: 1,044

6. Journalists who were jailed: 179

7. Bloggers who were physically attacked: 62

8. Bloggers/netizens who were arrested: 199

9. Journalists killed in Mexico alone over the past 10 years: 80

10. Journalists killed in the first few months of 2012: 17

As Amnesty International marks World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, we honor those who have lost their lives or their freedom for speaking truth to power. And we invite you to stand with those who need our protection as they continue to fight on the front lines no matter the cost.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

4 thoughts on “Journalists Under Fire: 10 Reasons to Defend Free Speech

  1. Let’s not forget the journalist detained and possibly tortured in Yemen at the personal request of Barack Hussein Obama, and the oppressive crackdown on whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning, Tom Drake, and Julian Assange – to name a few – that characterizes his administration. He is not what he appears, and I will wager that the US government will soon drop the facade of free speech and being treating its journalists like enemy combatants if they refuse to toe the line. Of course, there may be little risk there as true journalism is all but dead in the US. It is up to citizen journalists to speak out and to fight, with organizations like AI, for the free speech rights of all across the globe.

  2. Freedom of speech is one of the most important human rights. I can't believe that in this day of age people are still being killed over something like this. It makes you wonder what huge things are being kept from us.

  3. I'm sure we are going to change this situation gradually! It's hard to understand that people on the other side of glove live in conditions like this one. But I have no doubts they'll show their position! I would like to write an essay for on this topic. So thank you so much for the statistic above.

Comments are closed.