CPJ Releases Attacks on the Press in 2003

New York, March 11, 2004–The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) today released its annual survey, Attacks on the Press in 2003, during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Copies of the book are available through The Brookings Institution Press [click here to order the print edition]. The entire text of the book–with regional sections translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Russian–is available on CPJ’s Web site [click here to read the book online]. Arabic and French translations will be available soon.

At the launch of the book today, CPJ board member Gwen Ifill, who is the moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and a senior correspondent for the “Newshour with Jim Lehrer” said: “Sitting here in Washington, covering the world’s conflict from a safe distance, it can be too easy to lose sight of the fact that reporters are putting their lives on the line for every word they write, for every descriptive phrase they utter, and for every story they tell.”

Attacks on the Press in 2003 documents instances of media repression in 95 countries, including assassination, assault, imprisonment, censorship, and legal harassment. In documenting these attacks, CPJ notes the following facts:

  •   The 2003 toll of 36 killed journalists is a sharp increase from 2002, when 19 journalists were killed because of their work. The war in Iraq was the primary reason for the increase, with 13 journalists, more than one-third of this year’s casualties, killed in hostile actions there.
  •  For the second year in a row, 136 journalists were imprisoned worldwide for their work. China was the world’s leading jailer of journalists for the fifth year in a row, with a total of 39 journalists behind bars, followed by Cuba, where a massive crackdown on the independent press led to the arrest and imprisonment of 29 journalists.