NEW YORK - With at least 65 journalists killed worldwide, 2007 marked the deadliest year for the press in more than a decade, a New York-based media watchdog said Monday.
In its annual report on the protection of journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the death toll in 2007 was up from 56 a year earlier.
"CPJ has recorded only one other year with a higher death toll: 1994, when 66 journalists were killed, many in conflicts in Algeria, Bosnia and Rwanda," the watchdog said.
For the fifth straight year, Iraq was the deadliest country in the world for the press with its 32 victims accounting for nearly half of the 2007 deaths, it said.
Unidentified gunmen, suicide bombers, and US military activity all posed fatal risks for Iraqi journalists. All but one of the 32 journalists killed were Iraqi nationals, who worked mainly for local media, although nine worked for international news organizations such as The New York Times, ABC News, Reuters and The Associated Press.
"Iraq has become a virtual killing field for the press, with more than 170 journalists and media support workers killed since the March 2003 US invasion," the report said.
Strife-torn Somalia was the second-deadliest place for the press in 2007, with seven journalists killed in direct relation to their work.
The Horn of Africa was also the deadliest place for the press in Africa as the deaths came amid widespread violence in the country, which has had no effective central government since 1991. Two journalists died in Eritrea and one in Zimbabwe in 2007.
In both Sri Lanka and Pakistan, five journalists were killed. Afghanistan had two deaths. The United States, Myanmar, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Nepal, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Haiti, Honduras and Russia also made the list of place with journalist fatalities.
The CPJ said that about seven in 10 journalist deaths in 2007 were murders, with combat-related deaths and deaths in dangerous assignments accounting for the rest.