59 journalists killed this year: media rights group
Fifty-nine journalists have been killed because of their work in the first six months of this year, up from 53 for the same period last year, the Press Emblem Campaign said Monday.
The highest toll was in Mexico, where nine were killed in the six months to June because organised crime was "hunting journalists", the Geneva-based non-government organisation said in a statement.
The other most dangerous countries for the media were Honduras, where eight journalists were killed, Pakistan (six), Nigeria (four) and the Philippines (four).
PEC secretary general Blaise Lempen said in the statement that journalists "are extremely exposed in countries which witness internal problems".
Lempen said "governments and the international community must act in firmness to stop those killings and bring the perpetrators of those crimes to justice".
Three journalists were killed in Russia, three in Colombia and two in Iraq, Nepal, Thailand and Venezuela.
One journalist was killed in Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Cyprus, Ecuador, Israel, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Turkey, Somalia and Yemen.
Lempen said the reasons for the killings varied from the organised crime in Mexico to tribal tensions in Pakistan and Nigeria, and settling political disputes in the Philippines, the Russian Caucasus and in Nepal.
The organisation, which campaigns for better protection for journalists in conflict zones, also noted that two French TV journalists had been captured for more than six months in Afghanistan.
It "deplores the dangers to which journalists are subjected to because of their work, which includes hostage taking," the statement said.
Last year a record 122 journalists were killed because of their profession and 91 in 2008, said the group, which keeps a tally of the deaths on its www.pressemblem.ch website.
© 2010 AFP