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A Sword Hangs Over the Pen

Journalists don't like to become a news story but Tuesday many of them made a point of it. On World Press Freedom Day, they held protests in many countries against government censorship and jailings of reporters.

They also put a spotlight on the more than 50 reporters killed last year - the most in a decade. One advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, notes that 56 journalists or their assistants have been killed in Iraq during and after the war. Four other nations - the Philippines, Colombia, Bangladesh, and Russia - are also listed as deadly places for the media.

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Intimidation remains the most common threat. In fact, just Tuesday the wife of Kenya's president and her bodyguards stormed a Nairobi newspaper office and berated the staff for an article about her.

Vague media laws loosely interpreted in many countries put a damper on press freedom, hurting civil liberties. "Insulting" a leader or the military, for instance, can easily land a journalist in jail. Many journalists are hunted down for trying to uncover scandals.

Joining hands one day a year to fight such dangers can help journalists keep up a good cause.