Reporters Without Borders: 2012 is deadliest year on record for journalists
updated 3:34 PM EST, Wed December 19, 2012
Marie Colvin, a veteran correspondent of London's The Sunday Times was killed in Syria in February.
- Annual report says 88 were killed while reporting
- This is a 33% rise in journalist deaths since just last year
- Group: Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Mexico and Brazil are deadliest countries for journalists
- The group began its annual roundup of journalist slayings 17 years ago
(CNN) -- This year has been the deadliest for journalists in the field since monitoring began 17 years ago, according to an annual report released Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders.
Eighty-eight journalists lost their lives while reporting in the middle of wars and bombings, or were killed on orders by corrupt governments, organized crime tied to drug trafficking and by Islamist militias, the report said.
Friend: Marie Colvin was 'courageous'
This is a 33% rise in journalist deaths since just last year.
"The reason for the unprecedented number of journalists killed in 2012 is mainly the war in Syria, the chaos in Somalia and Taliban violence in Pakistan," said Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of the nonprofit group. "The impunity enjoyed by those responsible for violations of human rights, in particular, the right to freedom of information, encourages the continuation of these violations."
Read the report
In places like Syria, where fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have battled opposition forces for the past 21 months, professional journalists have faced difficulty and persecution while attempting to report. Amateur reporters, using mobile phone cameras and Twitter feeds, have stepped in to tell the story of life in the conflict zones.
According to the report, 47 so-called citizen journalists were killed in 2012, compared with five in 2011. In Syria alone, at least 17 journalists, 44 citizen journalists and four media assistants lost their lives, the report said.
"Because of the polarization of information sources, news manipulation, propaganda, technical constraints and the extreme violence to which journalists and citizen journalists are exposed, anyone trying to gather or disseminate news and information in Syria needs a real sense of vocation," the Reporters Without Borders report said.
"Without their action, the Syrian regime would be able to impose a total blockade on information in some regions and carry out its massacre with nobody watching."
After Syria, the report said, Somalia was the next most dangerous place for journalists, with 18 killed in 2012, followed by Pakistan, the world's deadliest country for the media from 2009 to 2011, with 10 deaths of media personnel.
Organized crime, drug trafficking and government corruption led to the deaths of six journalists in Mexico and five in Brazil, according to Reporters Without Borders, the next two most perilous countries in the world for those trying to report the news.
People we've lost in 2012: The lives they lived
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.