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International Press Institute: Journalism Especially Hard in Afghanistan and Pakistan - 2002-02-21


In its annual world press freedom review for 2001, the International Press Institute says journalists had an especially hard time working in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

At the start of the U-S-led bombing campaign in Afghanistan, the ruling Taleban barred all foreign journalists from entering the country. The report says between October and December of 2001, eight foreign journalists were killed in Afghanistan, 11 were arrested and many others were either wounded or managed to escape attacks.

The report says tribal authorities in neighboring Pakistan detained a number of journalists who rushed to cover the plight of Afghan refugees in camps along the border. Elsewhere, it says journalists were the victims of mob violence by groups opposing Pakistan's support for the U-S-led coaltion.

In its report, the International Press Institute criticizes the Bangladeshi government for appearing to condone the brutal deaths of two reporters by remaining silent on the issue.

It also has criticism for India -- saying military and police services are still extremely sensitive in the disputed region of Kashmir, where there have been a number of assaults on journalists.

Meanwhile, the report says the media still face hardships in Sri Lanka from the government and because of physical attacks, but that a recent relaxation of censorship rules in Sri Lanka provides some hope.

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