China, Cuba detain large number of journalists: UN

May 1st, 2009 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, May 1 (DPA) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that China, Cuba and Eritrea are responsible for half of the 125 journalists imprisoned in 2008, some of whom have been under detention for years.
“I urge all governments that have detained journalists to ensure that their rights are fully respected, including the right to appeal and defend themselves against charges,” Ban said on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day held each May 1 around the world, citing the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The Washington-based Freedom House said at the same time in its analysis of global press freedom that Italy, Hong Kong and Israel had slipped from being countries with free press freedom to the category of partly free status.

Freedom House said in its annual media study that there had been a decline in global press freedom in every region for the first time in 2008 and the roll back was not confined only in traditional authoritarian countries.

Ban said at UN headquarters in New York that “some governments” have suppressed internet access and the work of internet-based journalists, mostly bloggers.

Ban cited the CPJ annual report on press freedom, which said that bloggers flourished in countries that impose strict control over the media. The CPJ also said that 45 percent of jailed media writers were bloggers.

“I urge all governments to respect the right of these citizen journalists, who may lack the legal resources or political connections that might assist them in gaining their freedom,” he said.

“The annual observance of World Press Freedom is also an opportunity to reflect on the important role of the media in addressing global problems,” he said.

He pointed out that post-conflict societies struggling to rebuild need the media in order to build confidence between government and the public.

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