The Middle East remains the world's most dangerous place for reporters, according to a leading journalism organization.
In a year-end report
released Monday, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists
says at least 70 reporters were killed in connection with their work during 2013, down slightly from 74 the previous year. Two-thirds of this year's deaths occurred in the Middle East.
The single most dangerous country was Syria, where at least 29 journalists died
while trying to cover a civil war that has raged since 2011. CPJ says about 60 other journalists were kidnapped in the country during the year, half of whom are still missing.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, 10 journalists died during the year in Iraq, where violence returned to the highest levels since 2011. Another six were killed in Egypt, where protests have continued since the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in June.
CPJ noted a reduction in journalist deaths in parts of Africa, despite spiraling conflicts in Mali, Central African Republic, South Sudan and, beginning Monday, the Republic of Congo. The organization says four journalists died during 2013 in Somalia, which has long been one of the most dangerous countries for reporters.
The report says two journalists were killed during the year in Russia, where two suicide bombings this week have killed a total of 31 people in what is seen as a campaign to drive visitors away from the Sochi winter Olympics.
CPJ notes that, as in past years, 90 percent of the reporters who died were employed by local news organizations.