NEW YORK — Iran and Cuba together have forced more journalists into exile over the past year than all other countries combined, a survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday.
"Nearly 70 journalists were forced into exile over the past 12 months, with more than half coming from Iran and Cuba, two of the world's most repressive nations," the report said.
"Iran, which has waged a massive, two-year-long crackdown on the independent press, and Cuba, which freed journalists from prison only to force them to leave their homeland, each sent 18 journalists into exile," it said.
The survey said most -- 82 percent -- left their country for fear they would be imprisoned, while smaller numbers fled after being physically assaulted or harassed.
Since the committee began keeping detailed records in 2001, 649 journalists facing violence, imprisonment and harassment have gone into exile around the world.
The Middle East and North Africa saw 22 journalists flee their countries last year; in Africa, 19 were exiled; and Asia saw six forced to leave their countries.
The biggest totals by country after Iran and Cuba were Eritrea (6), Ethiopia (5), Somalia (3), Democratic Republic of Congo (3) and Pakistan (3).
"Five countries -- Ethiopia, Iran, Somalia, Iraq and Zimbabwe -- account for nearly half the total number of journalists driven out of their countries over the past decade," the report said.
The committee said it counts only those cases it has documented, and noted that other groups cite higher numbers of journalists in exile.
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