Reporters on the Job

Jamie Scott/Reuters
Australia's Alex "Alfy" Cater won a biggest-wave award Wednesday for surfing a wave last fall that had a face height of 46 feet. He surfed at a deep-water break known as "Cow Bombie."

Journalists at Work: The media rights group Reporters Without Borders released its annual report on media freedoms in 98 countries Wednesday, noting that last year's death toll of 87 journalists was the highest since 1994.

Iraq was the deadliest country in which journalists worked, the report says. Most of those killed were Iraqis. Twenty-five journalists were kidnapped during the year, though most were released. Eight journalists died in Somalia and six in Pakistan.

The group states that in terms of censorship, journalists face the greatest challenge in China, and expressed concern about the upcoming Olympic Games. Officials in China have jailed members of the news media and cracked down on freedom of expression. All told, China had at least 31 journalists and 51 cyberdissidents in jail.

In Iran, at least 10 journalists were in prison at the end of 2007, the report says.

In Pakistan, private news networks were banned in November during emergency rule and had to sign a code of conduct to get back on the air, according to the group. In Russia, the government keeps close tabs on the media, and Reporters Without Borders cited critics who say that state-controlled TV has focused on President Putin's chosen successor, leaving out his competition ahead of polls next month.

In the United States, Reporters Without Borders pointed to the case of Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, held by the military without charges for 22 months. Freelance videographer Josh Wolf was jailed for months after refusing to give his videotape of an anarchist protest in San Francisco to a federal grand jury.

And Sami al-Haj, a Sudanese cameraman for Al Jazeera, is thought to be the only journalist from a major international news organization held at Guantánamo Bay, Reporters Without Borders says.

For the full report, go to

– Amelia Newcomb

Deputy World editor

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