2012 was a year for living dangerously if you were a journalist working abroad. A civil war in Syria, shootings in Somalia, and violence in Pakistan comprised just a few of the dangerous hot spots around the world this year, which saw at least 67 journalists killed worldwide in direct retaliation for their work.
The data was put together by the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that defends press freedom. The death toll for 2012 represents a 42 percent increase over 2011, reports CBN News.com. The data also show that 2012 was a record year for imprisoned journalists, with at least 232 detained throughout the year as of December 1.
Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, called the data “bleak.”
“You put all that together and it’s a very bleak picture,” Simon told NBC News on Thursday. “I would say this has been one of the worst years. There’ve been years when we’ve had higher numbers of journalists killed, but the combination of near-record fatalities and record journalists imprisoned — put those together and you have to acknowledge that this is one of the worst years on record.”
Syria was the deadliest country for journalists in 2012, with a total of 22 killed. Twelve journalists died in Somalia, and seven died in Pakistan. The latter-most country was the deadliest for journalists in both 2010 and 2011.
Online journalists have also been swept up into the violence, while others have been detained for political reasons:
“Think about how front-line news is being gathered today. In a lot of countries around the world, dissent is limited and curtailed. There’s no opposition to express critical views in the media, so people for last decade or more have been expressing those critical ideas online. Governments have been cracking down on this,” said Simon.
So pour one out for journalists this New Year’s Eve. Love them or hate them, most qualify as some of the ballsiest people of 2012.