This year is likely to be one of the deadliest for journalists around the world, with at least 67 killed so far while doing their jobs, a US-based media rights group said on Tuesday.
A Paris-based group, meanwhile, put the number of those killed at 88.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the number of deaths was up 42 percent from last year, due in large part to the Syria conflict, shootings in Somalia, violence in Pakistan and killings of reporters in Brazil.
“With 67 journalists killed in direct relation to their work by mid-December, 2012 is on track to become one of the deadliest years since CPJ began keeping detailed records in 1992,” the committee said.
The worst year on record for journalist killings was 2009, when 74 individuals were killed because of their work, nearly half of them slain in a massacre in Maguindanao Province in the Philippines, the committee said.
CPJ also said it was investigating the deaths of 30 additional journalists this year to establish whether they were work-related.
“Internet journalists were hit harder than ever, while the proportion of freelancers was again higher than the historical average,” the group said in its yearly report.
Syria was by far the deadliest country this year, with 28 journalists killed in combat or targeted for murder by government or opposition forces, CPJ said.
In addition, one journalist covering the Syrian conflict was killed just over the border in Lebanon.
Worldwide, the vast majority of victims, 94 percent, were local journalists covering events in their own countries, a proportion roughly in line with historical figures.
Four international journalists were killed this year, all of them in Syria: Marie Colvin, a US writer for the Sunday Times of London; French freelance photographer Remi Ochlik; France 2 reporter Gilles Jacquier; and Japan Press journalist Mika Yamamoto.
Other organizations do separate calculations of journalist deaths.
The Paris-based press rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday said this year saw 88 journalists killed. Its annual “Press Freedom Barometer” also listed 47 “netizens” and citizen journalists killed, and 193 journalists imprisoned.
It concurred with the CPJ that Syria, Somalia, and Pakistan were the most dangerous places for the media.
RSF said the toll was the highest since it began compiling annual statistics in 1995.