More journalists were killed on the job in 2012 than at any point since Reporters Without Borders began keeping a tally 17 years ago.
The Paris-based nonprofit said Wednesday that eighty-eight reporters were killed, a third more than last year, as several countries underwent rebellion and revolution that endangered the journalists covering the hot spots. "The high number of journalists killed in 2012 is mainly due to the conflict in Syria, the chaos in Somalia and to violence by the Taliban in Pakistan," Christophe Deloire, the head of the organization, said in a statement.
The group said 17 professional journalists, including veteran U.S. war correspondent Marie Colvin for the U.K.'s Sunday Times, were killed in Syria, along with 44 citizen journalists and four collaborators.
Citizen journalists' cell phone videos of bombings and life in Syria's makeshift hospitals provided some of the most candid accounts of life in the warzone, but the cost was often their lives.
"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," the nonprofit said.
Improved surveillance equipment allowed governments to track the physical location of people publishing news online, and citizen journalists often lacked the resources to escape the country if targeted. Somalia was the second most dangerous country for journalists, where 18 reporters were killed, followed by Pakistan with 10 and Mexico with six deaths, mostly by organized criminals in drug cartels.