2011 looks like yet another bad year for journalists. Over 43 journalists were killed this year across the world.
Mexico on the top of this list with 12 killings and by Pakistan at 7.
while across the world coverage of political unrest proved unusually dangerous in 2011, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in its year-end survey of journalist fatalities.
CPJ’s analysis found notable shifts from historical data: Targeted murders declined while deaths during dangerous assignments such as the coverage of street protests reached their highest level on record. Photographers and camera operators, often the most vulnerable during violent unrest, died at rates more than twice the historical average.
At least 43 journalists were killed around the world in direct relation to their work in 2011, with the seven deaths in Pakistan.
Libya and Iraq, each with five fatalities, and Mexico, with 12 deaths, also ranked high worldwide for journalism-related fatalities. The global tally is consistent with the toll recorded in 2010, when 44 journalists died in connection with their work. CPJ is investigating another 35 deaths in 2011 to determine whether they were work-related.
CPJ’s survey identified significant changes in the nature of journalist fatalities. Sixteen journalists died while on dangerous assignments, many of them while covering the chaotic and violent confrontations between authorities and protesters during the uprisings that swept the Arab world.
The victims included Hassan al-Wadhaf, a Yemeni cameraman shot by a sniper while covering antigovernment protests in Sana’a, and Ahmad Mohamed Mahmoud, an Egyptian reporter gunned down while filming a protest in Cairo. “Journalists working in this environment are in no less danger than war correspondents covering an armed conflict,” said Ahmed Tarek, a reporter for the Middle East News Agency who was assaulted by police while covering protests in Alexandria, Egypt. “The greatest danger journalists are facing today in post-revolution Arab countries is the targeting of journalists by political forces hostile to anyone who exposes them.”
The 19 murders recorded in 2011 were the lowest total since 2002. Targeted murders which historically account for nearly three-quarters of journalist deaths constituted less than half of the 2011 toll.
But murders were reported in both Russia and the Philippines, two countries long plagued by deadly, anti-press violence. In the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, an assassin waited outside the offices of the critical independent newspaper Chernovik and gunned down its founder, Gadzhimurad Kamalov.
In the Philippines, CPJ documented the work-related murders of two radio commentators. One of them, Romeo Olea, was shot in the back while riding his motorcycle to work. CPJ is waging a Global Campaign Against Impunity that focuses particularly on these two countries.
After record death tolls in the middle part of the last decade, fatalities in Iraq began dropping in 2008. But deaths have levelled out in recent years as journalists continue to die in both targeted murders and insurgent attacks such as the March assault on a provincial government building in Tikrit that took the lives of reporters Sabah al-Bazi and Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad.
In Mexico, CPJ documented three deaths in direct relation to journalism and is investigating the killings of four other journalists. Mexican authorities appear paralyzed in their efforts to combat pervasive anti-press violence; Congress continued to debate legislation in late year that would federalize crimes against free expression, taking the cases out of the hands of local officials who have been corrupted and cowed by criminal gangs.
Mexican journalists continue to face a dark choice: Censor their own work or be at risk. Noel López Olguín, whose newspaper column “With a Lead Pen” took on drug trafficking and official corruption, was found in a clandestine grave in Veracruz state in May, two months after gunmen had abducted him.
Afghanistan and Somalia, two conflict-ridden countries with persistent levels of anti-press violence, each recorded fatalities in 2011. CPJ documented the deaths of one journalist and one media worker in Somalia, along with the killings of two journalists in Afghanistan.