With 141 of them killed in 29 different countries last year, 2012 has been rated as one of the deadliest on record for journalists, according to a media watchdog.
Also, Syria has been declared the most dangerous place on earth for reporters. Disclosing this yesterday, Swiss-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), which fights for the protection of journalists, said the figure was up by 31 per cent from that of 2011.
It said 37 journalists, among them 13 working for foreign media, were killed in Syria. Four journalists are reported missing or detained. They are Ukrainian Anhar Kochneva, Jordanian-Palestinian Bashar Fahmi, as well as American reporters, Austin Tice (freelance) and James Foley, who has contributed video to Agence France Presse (AFP).
PEC stated that 19 were killed in Somalia, where the situation has deteriorated dramatically. Three Latin American countries followed among the most dangerous places.
They are Mexico (with 11 journalists killed), Brazil (also with 11 dead), and Honduras, six. The Philippines ranked seventh with six journalists killed, followed by Bangladesh and India with four each, said PEC.
Last month, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said that 67 reporters were killed in 2012 – an increase of 42 per cent from the previous year – due in large part to the Syrian conflict, shootings in Somalia, violence in Pakistan and killings in Brazil.
Meanwhile, the Paris-based press rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), put the number of those killed last year at 88.
Nigerian journalists for many years have had to contend with hazards in the discharge of their duties.
In January last year, a reporter with Channels Television, Enenche Akogwu, was killed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Kano.
A day before Akogwu’s murder, Nansok Sallah a 46-year-old editor for the government-owned radio station Highland FM was found dead, face-down in a shallow stream, not far from a military checkpoint near the Nigerian city of Jos
Some other Nigerian journalists who have been brutally murdered are Bayo Ohu of The Guardian and Godwin Agbroko of ThisDay.
The worst years for journalists in Nigeria were during the military regimes.
The founding Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine, Dele Giwa, was killed via a letter bomb in October 1986 during the Ibrahim Babangida regime.
Also, a senior correspondent of TheNews magazine in Kaduna, Bagauda Kaltho, was killed during the dictatorship of Sani Abacha.
Up until now, nobody has been brought to justice for the murder of the journalists.
Two Nigerian journalists, Krees Imodibie and Tayo Awotusin, went to cover the Liberian war and were brutally killed by rebels led by Charles Taylor.