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Fewer reporters killed, more kidnapped in 2010

A total of 57 journalists were killed while working in 2010, down from 76 last year, but kidnappings of reporters surged, media rights group, Reporters Without Borders, said on Thursday.

Reporters Without Borders said the most dangerous country for journalists in the past year was Pakistan, where 11 were killed.

Over the last decade, Pakistan, Iraq and Mexico have been the most violent countries for reporters, the group said.

“The passing years have brought no changes to Pakistan, with journalists continuing to be targeted by Islamist groups or to be the collateral victims of suicide bombings,” Reporters Without Borders, said in a statement.

Journalists were killed in 25 countries in 2010, the most since the group began keeping tallies and seven were killed in Iraq, up from four in 2009.

Two in the European Union (EU) and those murders, in Greece and Latvia, have not been solved.

The group reported a sharp rise in kidnappings of journalists, which climbed to 51 in 2010 versus 33 in 2009 and 29 in 2008.

It said reporters were increasingly turning into “bargaining chips” for militants intent on securing financing for their activities and winning publicity but the risk of being taken hostage was highest this year in Afghanistan and Nigeria.

“Abductions of journalists are becoming more and more frequent and taking place in more countries,” said Jean-Francois Julliard, secretary-general of the Paris-based group.

Reporters Without Borders said 1,374 journalists were physically attacked or threatened in 2010, down slightly from 1,456 in 2009. Some 535 were arrested, also lower than the 573 recorded last year.

The group said the number of countries affected by Internet censorship rose to 62 from 60.

It said 152 bloggers and “netizens” had been arrested this year, compared to 151 in 2009.

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