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Criminal defamation cases and news documented by CPJ
Across Asia, press freedom conditions varied radically in 2003, from authoritarian regimes with strictly regulated state-controlled media in North Korea and Laos, to democratic nations with outspoken and diverse journalism in India and Taiwan. Members of the media throughout the region struggled against excessive government interference, outdated press laws, violent attacks, and imprisonment for their work on the Internet. Five journalists were killed in the Philippines, Asia's most dangerous country for the press. Meanwhile, 39 journalists remained behind bars in China.
Taiwan's media continued to operate with little interference in 2003, though the conviction of a reporter on charges of revealing state secrets renewed an ongoing debate about the importance of national security concerns versus press freedom.
There were 138 journalists in prison around the world at the end of 2003 who were jailed for practicing their profession. The number is the same as last year. An analysis of the reasons behind this is contained in the introduction on page 10.

At the beginning of 2004, CPJ sent letters of inquiry to the heads of state of every country on the list below requesting information about each jailed journalist. Readers are encouraged to add their voices to CPJ's by writing directly to the heads of state, whose names and addresses can be found at www.cpj.org.

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