Fifty-two journalists have lost their lives this year because of their jobs — four fewer than during the first eight months of 2009, a global media watchdog said Sunday.
Mexico led the so-called Death Watch with 10 fatalities through the end of August, followed by Honduras with nine and Pakistan with six, the International Press Institute said.
"Journalists continue to systematically lose their lives to conflict, militants, paid thugs, governments, drug dealers, corrupt politicians, unscrupulous security officers, and others," the group's interim director, Alison Bethel McKenzie, said at an IPI meeting in Vienna that has drawn more than 300 media staff from around the globe.
The Vienna-based institute's list includes journalists killed on the job or targeted because of what they did for a living. During all of last year, 110 journalists perished due to their profession, IPI said.
So far this year the Americas have represented the most dangerous region for reporters, with 20 deaths including one in Colombia in addition to those in Mexico and Honduras. IPI considers the region to include North, South and Central America, and tracks the Caribbean separately.
Asia came in second with 18 deaths. Aside from the six killed in Pakistan, three reporters were fatally shot in the Philippines. Two others were killed in Afghanistan — Rupert Hamer, a reporter for Britain's Sunday Mirror, and James P. Hunter, a staff sergeant and journalist in the U.S. Army. Other deaths were recorded in Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and India.
Africa saw eight fatalities in the first two-thirds of the year: two each in Somalia and Nigeria, and one each in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Cameroon and Angola.
In the Middle East, two reporters were killed in Iraq — both after being abducted. In Lebanon, a reporter died as he covered clashes between Israeli and Lebanese forces in August. Another was shot dead in Yemen in February.
Europe saw two killings. One of the victims was a Greek radio director who was gunned down outside his home and the other was the director of a Russian television station who died in May on his way to fix equipment damaged by militants.