Mexico and Honduras saw significant declines in press freedoms last year.
from VOA Breaking News
The International Press Institute says that in 2010, the Americas moved closer to becoming the world’s most dangerous region for journalists. It says Mexico and Honduras accounted for nearly one quarter of reporters killed last year.
In a world press review released Monday, the global network says that in Mexico, where the government is battling drug cartels, 12 reporters were killed last year. More than 35,000 people have been killed in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006 and began a crackdown on the drug cartels.
The review also says that in Honduras, 10 journalists were killed in shootings and that most were shot while in their cars or leaving home or work.
The IPI says a total of 32 journalists in Latin America were killed last year and that the death count is second only to Asia, where 40 deaths were reported.
In an annual report released Monday, Freedom House says that in 2010, Mexico fell into the category of “not free” countries, as drug-related violence led to a dramatic increase in attacks on journalists, rising levels of self-censorship and impunity. Freedom House also noted that last year Mexico’s organized crime groups moved more aggressively to control the news media, demanding specific coverage that suited their interests.
Honduras also was given the designation of “not free” by Freedom House. Freedom House says political conditions stabilized in 2010 following the ouster the year before of President Manuel Zelaya, and that some legal and constitutional protections for journalists were restored after having been suspended previously. Freedom House, however, noted an increase in aggression and intimidation against journalists in Honduras involving both sides of the country’s political divide.
Freedom House said Cuba is among the world’s 10 worst-rated countries, as independent media are either non-existent or barely able to operate. It said press freedom conditions in Cuba remain extremely restricted in one of the most repressive media environments. The other worst-rated countries were Belarus, Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.