Journalists' death toll soars in covering unrest: watchdog
At least 90 journalists have been killed doing their job so far this year, a 25 percent increase on the same period of 2009, the media watchdog Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said Wednesday.
"This is a failure, there is no progress, and the situation instead is deteriorating," a statement quoted the group's secretary-general Blaise Lempen as saying.
"Lempen called upon the media associations worldwide to become more active and that governments act in firmness to prevent crimes against journalists and fight against impunity," it added.
"He stressed that it is becoming essential to launch the process concerning an international convention to protect journalists to strengthen existing laws."
According to the PEC Mexico remains the most dangerous country, with 13 journalists killed in the ongoing battles between the army and drug cartels in nine months.
It is followed by Honduras and Pakistan, with nine deaths each.
"A number of journalists were targeted and executed in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which makes it one of the most dangerous regions for media work," the PEC said.
Five journalists were killed in Iraq since January, "a marked deterioration after a period of calm", another five in Russia's North Caucasus region "as a result of settling accounts", and the same number in the Philippines.
Three journalists were killed in Colombia, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria and Somalia, and two in Angola, India, Thailand, Uganda, Venezuela and Afghanistan, where two reporters from a French television station have also been held captive.
One journalist was killed in Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroun, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Greece, Ecuador, Lebanon, Rwanda, Turkey, Ukraine and Yemen, the PEC said.
A Turkish journalist was also killed when Israeli forces boarded a Turkish-led aid flotilla heading for the Gaza strip.
Regionally, Latin America saw 30 journalists killed in nine months, followed by Asia with 27, Africa with 13 in what the PEC called "a marked deterioration", and the Middle East with eight.
"Europe has witnessed worrying isolated cases of targeting journalists in seven countries leading to the death of 12 journalists this year," the report said.
PEC president Hedayat Abdel Nabi noted with satisfaction that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had highlighted the importance of protecting journalists, the group said.
But he also "noted that the horrifying figures as well as the escalating nature of killings require an added attention from the international community to the global problem of the protection of journalists."
The PEC called on the UN Human Rights Council to take up the matter urgently before the end of the year.
It published a list of the victims on its website (www.pressemblem.ch).
© 2010 AFP