A U.S.-based group that promotes press freedom says combat-related deaths in Syria and “targeted” murders in three other countries have made 2012 one of the deadliest years on record for journalists.
The Committee to Protect Journalists says as of mid-December, at least 67 journalists had been killed in direct relation to their work — a more than 40-percent rise from 2011. The group says another 30 deaths, worldwide, are under investigation.
In a Tuesday report, the group said Syria's anti-government related unrest had resulted in the deaths of 28 journalists who were either killed in combat or “targeted” and killed by the government or opposition forces. The group said citizen journalists paid the “ultimate price,” with 13 killed while serving as sources for international news organizations.
The group said 12 journalist were murdered in Somalia. It blamed “weak and corrupt institutions” in the country for a lack of prosecutions in journalist murders over the past decade.
Pakistan also ranked high on the list with seven killings, four of them in Baluchistan. CPJ said journalists are “routinely targeted” in the country and killers often evade justice.
The group also says four journalists were killed in Brazil in direct relation to their work.
The CPJ says in Mexico, “extraordinary violence” had been used to censor the press. The group said it has confirmed one journalist death in the country but several others were under investigation.
The group says a string of countries had at least one journalist death — including Russia, Nigeria, Iran and the Philippines.
Researchers also say journalists working online accounted for about one-third of those killed this year, a significant rise from 2011.
In a report released earlier this month, the group said a record-high 232 journalists were in prisons this year. The group named Turkey, Iran and China as the worst offenders.