"Journalists working in this environment are in no less danger than war correspondents covering an armed conflict," Ahmed Tarek, a reporter for the Middle East News Agency who was assaulted by police while covering protests in Alexandria, Egypt, told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). "The greatest danger journalists are facing today in post-revolution Arab countries is the targeting of journalists by political forces hostile to anyone who exposes them."
For example, CPJ had never recorded work-related deaths of journalists in Syria in the two decades they've been compiling data - until now, where three have died since November 2011.
Overall, CPJ records 45 journalists and five media workers killed worldwide in direct connection to their work; in crossfire; or while carrying out a dangerous assignment in 2011, with the seven journalists' deaths in Pakistan marking the heaviest losses in a single nation.
CPJ's number - the lowest of all IFEX members' tallies - reflects its careful deliberation of whether a case is work-related. If the motives in a killing are unclear, CPJ classifies the case as "unconfirmed" and continues to investigate. Last year 35 journalists' deaths made the "unconfirmed list" - an "unusually high number… primarily because of the very murky situation in several Latin American countries, where the combination of crime, corruption, and utter lack of official investigation makes it extremely difficult to determine the motive," said CPJ's Joel Simon.
According to CPJ, targeted murders declined around the world, but deaths that occurred on dangerous assignments - such as while covering street protests - reached their highest level on record. Photographers and camera operators, often the most vulnerable during violent unrest, died at rates more than twice the historical average, says CPJ.
In its annual review, RSF counts at least 66 journalists killed in the line of duty around the world - a 16 percent increase from 2010. For the first time, RSF has compiled a list of the world's 10 most dangerous places for the media, "where journalists and netizens were particularly exposed to violence and where freedom of information was flouted."
Unsurprisingly, Middle East protest epicentres make up half the list: Manama, Bahrain; Tahrir Square in Egypt; Misrata, Libya; and Sana'a's Change Square in Yemen join the cities in Syria.
Election-related violence in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; drug trafficking in Veracruz state, Mexico; fighting between security forces and armed separatists in Khuzdar, Pakistan; paramilitaries and private militias in Manila, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines; and the civil war in Mogadishu, Somalia, account for the rest of the top 10.
RSF also notes a doubling in the arrests of journalists - at least 1,044 in 2011 (compared to 535 in 2010) - mainly because of the Arab Spring uprisings and the protests movements they inspired worldwide.
IFJ blames governments for failing to uphold their international obligations to protect the media against violence, which, in turn, contributes to a culture of impunity. In a letter to the UN Secretary General, IFJ wrote, "In a situation where governments are in denial or indifferent to what has become a regular pattern of targeted killings of journalists, it is incumbent upon yourself and the United Nations to remind them of their responsibility to protect journalists."
FULL REPORT: IFJ presses UN for action on media killings after violence claims 106 lives of journalists and media staff in 2011The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) counted 64 journalists killed - with 22 coming from the Middle East and North Africa. WAN-IFRA does not take into account media workers, or accidental deaths.
Based on IPI's methodology, the single deadliest nation in 2011 for journalists was Mexico, with 10 journalists and media workers killed - many at the hands of drug cartels. This made Latin America the deadliest region, with a death toll of 36.
To find out how IFEX members arrive at their numbers and review the benefits of different approaches, see IFEX's special report, Journalists Killed Methodology Research Project.
IFEX members' year-end reviews will be published online as they are made available.
See the following IFEX alerts for country or region-specific year-end analyses.