Reporters Without Borders has just published its round-up of abuses against journalists in 2014 in which it says 66 journalists were murdered this year, bringing to 720 the number of journalists killed in connection with their work in the past 10 years. The report was released on December 16.
The worldwide tally includes a total of 119 journalists who were kidnapped this year, an increase of more than 35 percent on last year’s figure. Forty journalists are currently being held hostage.
The most high-profile conflict zone for reporter deaths has been Syria. But Myanmar still has one black mark when it comes to loss of life.
Reporters Without Borders reported in October that journalist Ko Aung Kyaw Naing (aka Ko Par Gyi) was arrested by soldiers on September 30 in Kayin State and was killed in custody. Ko Par Gyi’s wife and several human rights groups have been calling for an unbiased investigation into the reporter’s death.
Threats and pressure on reporters in Myanmar are typically less physical, with the authorities seeking to imprison journalists who step too far out of line. Many critics claim the authorities are restricting press freedom.
When it comes to press freedom, Myanmar remains in the doldrums, ranking 145th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders 2014 world press freedom index.