Reporters Without Borders is “devoted to providing material, financial and psychological assistance to journalists assigned to dangerous areas.” According to tracking conducted by the international organization, 2012 saw a 33 percent uptick in newsgatherers being killed while pursuing their calling, with 88 journalists meeting their deaths in the course of chasing a deadline.
An additional 1993 journalists were threatened or physically attacked.
In the photo above, activists from Reporters Without Borders—with fake injuries, tied hands and legs in chains—attend a demonstration on Champs Elysees Avenue in front of the Iran Air airline company in Paris, July 10, 2012, to condemn the imprisonment of journalists and citizen journalists in Iran, calling for their immediate release.
Click through to visit the five countries that where the most reporters were killed in 2012.
Photo: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters
At least 17 journalists, 44 citizen-journalists and 4 media assistants killed in 2012
Activists from Reporters Without Borders (RSF), holding picture of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, face French police as they demonstrate outside the Syrian embassy in Paris. RSF daubed paint over the exteriors of the Syrian embassy in Paris as part of a symbolic protest staged on World Press Freedom Day against the crackdown on human rights in the Arab nation.
The slogan reads: “It’s ink that must flow and not blood.”
One thing the Assad regime and armed opposition groups have in common is their intolerance of criticism; both factions have targeted reporters for death in Syria.
Photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters
18 journalists killed in 2012
An armed security guard stands watch on a tower constructed within the compound of Radio Shabelle in Mogadishu, December 8, 2012. A prime target for the terrorist organization Al-Shabab, radio stations require constant security to try and ensure an attack is not attempted on their properties. While peace has largely returned to the city, journalists working in Mogadishu continue to face huge risks in their effort to report news.
In 2012, twice as many journalists were killed in Somalia than in 2009, which had been the previous high year for reporter deaths. Two journalists were killed within one day in late September—one shot to death, the other beheaded.
Photo: Tobin Jones/Reuters
10 journalists and 1 media assistant killed in 2012
A journalist from the Balochistan Union of Journalists holds a photograph of his colleague, Imran Sheikh, during a silent sit-in outside the press club in Quetta to protest bomb blasts and condemn the killings of members of the media, January 11, 2013. Imran Sheikh had been killed in an explosion the day before.
With its tribal areas, border with Pakistan, tensions with India, Taliban reprisals and unifying state of political chaos, Pakistan is a virtual kill zone for journalists.
Photo: Naseer Ahmed/Reuters
6 journalists killed
People and relatives stand next to the coffin of Mexican reporter Victor Baez, during his funeral at the cemetery in Xalapa, in Mexico’s Veracruz state, June 15, 2012. Assailants kidnapped and murdered Baez, who covered the crime beat in Mexico’s Veracruz state, in the latest in a series of attacks on journalists amid a relentless drug war across the country.
Baez, who worked for Mexican daily Milenio, was abducted leaving his office in the town of Xalapa and his body was found the following morning, said Gina Dominguez, spokeswoman for the Veracruz state government.
Journalists who cover drug crime, corruption, human rights violations or government infiltration by organized are particularly susceptible to violent reprisals.
Photo: Oscar Martinez/Reuters
5 journalists killed
A photographer takes his position behind an empty water tank during an operation at Alemao slum in Rio de Janeiro. Police in Rio de Janeiro gave drug traffickers holed up in the hillside slum an ultimatum to turn themselves in and help put an end to a wave of urban violence. Drug traffickers are presumed to have killed at least two of the five journalists murdered in Brazil last year. It is also felt that even minor criticism of local officials can result in violent and potentially deadly rebuttals.