Sri Lanka earns spot in media ‘bloodbath’

GENEVA, July 23, 2009 (AFP) – Fifty-nine journalists have been killed around the world so far this year, in an alarming rise from 2008 that has become a “bloodbath” of the media, a watchdog said Thursday.

Abdel Nabi said the UN Human Rights Council was “impotent” in protecting journalists.

The PEC expressed concern about election unrest in Iran where at least 40 journalists were arrested during disturbances after the disputed presidential vote. The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said 53 journalists were killed in the first six months, up from 45 in the first half of last year, but highlighted another six killings in July including Russian journalist and rights activist Natalya Estemirova who was murdered on July 15.

Mexico leads the media blackspots with seven journalist killings this year, according to the PEC.

It said there were six in Pakistan, five each in Iraq, the Philippines, Russia and Somalia, four in Gaza and Honduras, three in Colombia, two each in Afghanistan, Guatemala, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Venezuela and one in India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, and Madagascar.

The PEC called on all UN states, international organizations and non-government organisations to take action ”