Reporters on the Job

A Road Runs Through It: Correspondent Nachammai Raman went to the "border" in Sri Lanka between Tamil Tiger territory and the government-controlled area to report today's story about the A-9 Highway. The road is the latest bone of contention between the two sides. "It's quite bumpy and slow," says Nachammai, who traveled the route a year ago on another reporting trip.

"The whole thing is only about 60 kilometers (37 miles) long. But it takes forever with all the checkpoints," she says. "For example, at Omanthai you have to get off the bus and go through a government checkpoint. They check your documents and your bags. The last cease-fire agreement included a list of prohibited items, mostly things that could potentially be used for military purposes, such as batteries," she says.

But if you thought US airline security rules restricting liquids to one-quart bags was onerous, Nachammai says Sri Lanka is taking a tougher line. "They're confiscating bananas and mangoes now too."

Behind Bars: Reporters Without Borders says that 130 journalists worldwide are currently imprisoned for reporting the news or expressing their views in print or on the air. The nation with the most jailed journalists? China (32). It's followed by Cuba (24), Ethiopia (21), Eritrea (13), and Burma (7). Those in prison include Sudanese national Sami al-Haj, assistant cameraman with Al Jazeera TV, who has spent four years at Guantánamo, Cuba; and Eritrean poet Fessehaye Yohannes, who is considered a "threat to national security" for forming a labor union for journalists.

Reporters Without Borders is urging citizens to sign the petitions on its website ( as part of Wednesday's Jailed Journalists' Support Day.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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