In the first six-months of 2012, at least 70 journalists lost their lives in the line of duty, making it one of the deadliest periods on record.
The International News Safety Institute's (INSI) Killing the Messenger survey reports that among the dead are fifteen journalists in Syria between January and June, another seven in Nigeria where newspaper staff were killed by a bomb. Next on the list are Brazil, Somalia, Indonesia where five journalists died in a plane crash, and Mexico. And the INSI has identified another 30 journalists who were killed but it's not confirmed if it was related to their jobs.
The death toll compares with 56 for the first seven months of last year and 124 for all of 2011.
The Guardian quotes INSI Director Rodney Pinder saying, "Journalists are more than ever in the cross-hairs of the enemies of freedom." "Despite some encouraging international political moves to halt the murders, the gun and the bomb remain the favoured method of censorship in far too many countries." "Each and every killing chokes the free flow of information without which free societies cannot function."
The survey found that aside from Syria, most of the news media deaths happened during peacetime. 43 journalists died in countries officially at peace, victims mostly of vicious criminals that were often helped by corrupt security forces and politicians. And most got away with with it. The report says in the first half of this year just one person was identified in connection with 47 targeted killings worldwide.
Most of those killed were shot or died in bomb blasts, but some suffered horrific deaths; beaten, tortured, strangled, stabbed or decapitated. The third biggest cause of death was road accidents.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has a list of all the journalists it has identified as victims of murder. And while the numbers compiled are similar to those compiled by the International News Safety Institute the CPJ has also broken them down according to the beats that were being covered by journalists killed; 6% were covering business, 13% corruption, 13% Crime, 6% Culture, 58% were covering Human Rights, 52% were on the political beat, 3% were covering sports, and 45% were covering war. The CPJ website also profiles each of those killed, the stories they were working on and how they were killed.