67 journalists killed in 2012 | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

67 journalists killed in 2012

By: Masood Haider and Anwar Iqbal

NEW YORK / WASHINGTON: At least 67 journalists were killed worldwide in direct relation to their work by mid-December, a 42 per cent increase over 2011, a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Tuesday.

The report said combat-related deaths in Syria and targeted murders in Somalia, Pakistan and Brazil were the driving forces behind a sharp rise in press fatalities in 2012. CPJ is also investigating the deaths of another 30 journalists to establish whether these were work-related.

Unceasing violence during Syria’s conflict proved deadliest, claiming the lives of 28 journalists killed in combat or directly targeted and murdered by government or opposition forces.

“While nearly every aspect of journalism has been transformed by technology, the central function that journalists fulfil remains unaltered,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Journalists bear witness. When journalists are killed, our understanding of critical global events is diminished.

‘‘In no place has this truth been revealed more dramatically than Syria, where so many journalists have been killed seeking to inform the world.” Murder accounted for all 12 deaths in Somalia, the second deadliest country in 2012, where not a single journalist murder has been prosecuted in the last decade.

“The cycle of silence works like this: A journalist is murdered, a story dies, others reporters are cowed,” said Mr Simon. Pakistan the deadliest place for journalists in the past two years, dropped to third place in 2012 with seven killings, although the number of fatalities did not decrease and impunity reigned in the country. Four of the journalists were killed in Balochistan.

Along with Russia and the Philippines, each with one journalist murder this year, Pakistan is a place where journalists are routinely targeted and the killers evade justice.