Tim Hetherington

British-born photographer Tim Hetherington was one of 16 journalists killed while covering dangerous events this year

Credit: Stephen Kosloff on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The number of journalists killed while carrying out "dangerous assignments" was the highest ever recorded in 2011, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which has been recording journalist deaths since 1992.

There have been "at least" 43 journalists killed "in direct relation to their work" this year, the report says, similar to the toll of 44 journalists in 2010. But in 2011 there were "notable shifts from historical data" the press freedom organisation added.

"Targeted murders declined while deaths during dangerous assignments such as the coverage of 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."

According to the CPJ's data, a total of 16 journalists were killed while covering dangerous events in 2011, such as the protests which broke out during the Arab spring.

A further eight reporters were killed "in combat situations". This included British-born photojournalist Tim Hetherington and US photojournalist Chris Hondros, who both died in April this year after a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Misrata, Libya.

According to the CPJ's report, photojournalists "suffered particularly heavy losses in 2011".

"Photographers and camera operators constituted about 40 per cent of the overall death toll, about double the proportion CPJ has documented since it began keeping detailed fatality records in 1992."

Meanwhile, murders fell to the lowest figure since 2002, the CPJ added, with 19 cases recorded throughout the world.

"Targeted murders – which historically account for nearly three-quarters of journalist deaths – constituted less than half of the 2011 toll," CPJ reports.

"But murders were reported in both Russia and the Philippines, two countries long plagued by deadly, anti-press violence."

Pakistan was again named "the deadliest country for journalists", with the CPJ recording a total of seven deaths in 2011 where the motive is known, and a total of 29 deaths in the last five years in the country.

Earlier this year the CPJ called on news outlets in Pakistan to take urgent measures to ensure their journalists could report safely.

The CPJ says it is still looking into a further 35 deaths worldwide to find out if they were linked to the work of the journalists killed.

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