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Protecting the Fourth Estate

Those who cover the news do so sometimes at great risk, and those who follow the news can use a reminder of that.

The latest annual report of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says 24 journalists in 16 countries were killed last year in the course of reporting the news. This week, the International Press Institute says 56 journalists, including other "media workers," were killed in 2000.

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While the numbers have declined, other abuses of press freedoms abound. Both reports say Colombia and Russia are especially dangerous for journalists; in other countries, press freedom has expanded. Strong reporting helped oust Peru's President Alberto Fujimori from office. Journalists in Yugoslavia are freer to report since Slobodan Milosevic's exit.

"Banning the truth does not eradicate it," says Nadire Mater, a free-lance reporter who faced a jail term last year for writing about the lives of Turkish soldiers fighting Kurdish rebels. We agree.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor