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The Nation 3/5/98: Top enemies of t

Top enemies of the press identified

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

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
wrer 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, harrassment 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
Developement 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 nithtmare because fax machines,
photocopiers,etc. are illegal. There is no independent press and foreign
broadcasts are frequenty jammed. In this climate of oppression, the Burmese
are kept in the dark even about the nature of their own government.
* 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, harrassed 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, exacerbation the econemic
crisis and reporters fear that digging depply into the country's financial
troubles would cost them their jobs or even their lives.