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8 Aug 2012
LONDON - At least 70 journalists and support staff were killed covering the news in the first half of this year in one of the bloodiest periods of recent times.
Fifteen were confirmed dead in Syria alone between January and June, according to the biannual Killing The Messenger survey of news media casualties carried out for INSI by Cardiff School of Journalism.
The next worst countries were Nigeria, where seven unidentified newspaper staff were killed by a bomb, Brazil, Somalia, Indonesia, where five journalists died in a plane crash, and Mexico.
The toll compares with 124 for the whole of 2011 and 56 for the first seven months of last year. And 70 may be a conservative figure as INSI has recorded the deaths of an additional 30 news people where it was unclear whether the killings were related to their work.
INSI invites anyone with more information on any of those unexplained deaths to make contact.
"Journalists are more than ever in the cross-hairs of the enemies of freedom," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.
"Despite some encouraging international political moves to halt the murder, 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 highlighted again that despite the Syrian conflagration the great majority of news media deaths around the world are in peacetime. Forty-three journalists died in countries officially at peace, victims mostly of vicious criminals, often abetted by corrupt security forces, politicians and business interests.
Most of the dead were shot or bombed, but some suffered appalling ends - beaten, tortured, strangled, stabbed or decapitated.
The third biggest cause of death was road accidents, every year a particularly wasteful loss.
Scandalously, most of the killers of journalists continue to get away with it. In the first half of this year only one person was identified in connection with 47 targeted killings worldwide.
The rate of impunity for murder of a journalists has remained constant at around 90 per cent globally for the past 10 years - undoubtedly fuelling more of the same.
As a safety organisation, INSI records all deaths of journalists and other news workers in the course of their duties, whether deliberate or accidental.
Any questions on this report should be addressed to INSI Director Rodney Pinder, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mob. +44 7734 709267