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THe Nation: Top enemies of the pr


      Top enemies of the press

      THE Committee to Protect Journalists
      (CPJ) has included leaders of Nigeria,
      Burma, Belarus, Cuba and Indonesia in its
      list of 10 ''Enemies of the Press'' published

      The CPJ selected these countries for their
      relentless campaign to suppress journalists
      to mark World Press Freedom today. 

      Nigerian leader Gen Sani Abacha was
      named enemy number one. Others named
      were Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and China's
      President Jiang Zemin. Leaders of Jordan,
      Tunisia and Turkmenistan were included in
      CPJ's annual ranking for the first time. 

      ''All of these 10 individuals are intent upon
      suppressing any independent media voice,
      through whatever means necessary,'' said
      William Orme Jr, executive director of the
      New York-based press freedom group.
      ''They are collectively responsible for
      unabated press freedom abuse that has
      penalised hundreds of journalists through
      physical attack, imprisonment, censorship,
      harassment, and even murder.'' 

      The top two enemies of the Asian Press in
      1998 were: 

      -Burma's Senior General Than Shwe. 

      Than Shwe presides over the cosmetically
      renamed State Peace and Development
      Council. However, a junta is still a junta, and
      this stifling regime has changed little since
      the military seized power in 1988. Free
      expression in Burma is seen as a
      nightmare because fax machines,
      photocopiers and modems are illegal.
      There are no independent newspapers in
      the country and foreign broadcasts are
      frequently jammed. In this climate of
      oppression, the Burmese are kept in the
      dark even about the nature of their own

      -Indonesia's President Suharto. 

      With Indonesia's economy in free fall,
      Suharto continues to run roughshod over
      the media to prevent open, independent
      coverage of business and political news.
      Journalists have been driven into hiding
      after being arrested, harassed and
      threatened by the military. Despite this
      persecution, Indonesian journalists still
      attempt to provide a broad coverage of
      growing opposition to Suharto. However,
      publications that once dared to report on
      the Suharto clan's financial dealings have
      been closed by state order. Meanwhile,
      cronyism endures, exacerbating the
      economic crisis and reporters fear that
      digging deeply into the country's financial
      troubles would cost them their jobs or even
      their lives. 

      The Nation