Sixty journalists were killed in the first half of 2015, according to a report by the UK-based organisation International News Safety Institute (INSI). Killing The Messenger looks at the number of reporters killed for simply doing their job. It also details how they died and where they worked. Since its publication, that figure has risen to 65, according to the INSI website.
For the first time, a peaceful Western democracy tops the list as the deadliest country in the world to be a journalist. Eight reporters were killed in the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in France at the start of the year.
INSI president Richard Sambrook said 2015 is shaping up to be worse than the previous year for journalists' deaths. "Local journalists are under most threat – from investigating crime and corruption – and account for more than 90% of those killed," he said.
The report reveals South Sudan and Yemen were the second bloodiest countries for journalists in the first half of 2015, with six members of the news media killed in each place, while Iraq and Libya are close behind, with five journalists losing their lives in each country.
Syria, which has topped the list for the past three years, saw a decline in the number of reporters killed – down from 11 in 2014 to two during the first six months of 2015. The country has become a no-go zone for most journalists since the high-profile beheadings of Japanese and American freelancers, which is thought to be the main reason for the decline.
"So far this year seven journalists have been decapitated by jihadist groups – a figure unthinkable a few years ago. The consequence of all this is that the public know less about the world than they should, and the killing of journalists is increasingly seen as a political act or means of censorship," said Sambrook.
The report found that more than half of the journalists killed died during peacetime and their murderers enjoyed near total impunity. INSI identified only five cases in which suspects were identified or arrested.
IBTimesUK pays tribute to photographers and reporters killed, injured or harassed doing their jobs in hostile environments.