The Most Dangerous Profession

The world has been rocked by the brutal killings of American journalists James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff by Islamic State militants.

What was apparent before such incidents was the risk at which reporters brought news into focus from war-torn countries. Now, with direct targeting and muzzling of the messenger one questions the fate of a career which has informed from the most un-trodden paths to the bullet-ridden streets.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Syria has been the most dangerous country in the world for journalists for the past two years. We look at top six most dangerous countries for journalists.



In 2013, the fatal violence and longstanding conflict in Syria claimed the lives of at least 28 journalists, decidedly making it the most dangerous reporting zone. Many of those killed in Syria were working to document combat in their home cities. Others were broadcasters working with Syrian media outlets affiliated with either the government or the rebels. A smaller number were foreign media correspondents. This number, however, doesn’t include journalists who were kidnapped, which, according to CPJ, stands at around 60 this year.



Another country in the grips of civil war is becoming increasingly dangerous for journalists with four deaths since the start of the year. The kidnapping of Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky in Sloviansk in April illustrated the growing dangers faced by international news organisations on the ground in eastern Ukraine – he survived after four days of harsh beatings and interrogation.



Iraq also remains a dangerous territory for journalists with four deaths in 2014. The increasingly fragmented and blurred frontlines of modern wars driven by extreme ideologies are changing the face of war-reporting. Fighting between conventional armies is now rare and Islamic militants often view any westerners, including journalists as hostile.

As sectarian attacks and fatal violence in the country increased significantly, at least 10 journalists were killed in Iraq in 2013. Of the 10, nine have been confirmed as murders, and all occurred in the last quarter of the year.  



The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas left tens of journalist’s victim to the fight. They were photographed lying dead, on gravel from homes torn apart by bombs.

Since the uprising began in Gaza and the West Bank in 2000 the Israeli army took control of large parts of the road. And journalists were advised to use jeeps and armoured vehicles with signs identifying vehicles as Foreign Press.



As three journalists were killed in Brazil in 2013, the country stands out on the list as perhaps the most stable democracy where numerous journalists were killed on the job. All three of the victims were provincial journalists murdered for their work reporting local crime and corruption.



More than 90% of journalists’ deaths in Afghanistan since 1992 have occurred since the intervention in the country by allied forces began in 1991, with 88% of victims covering war at the time of their death. Pictured is a 2014 Afghanistan election rally, one of the last photographs taken by photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was shot dead on April 4, 2014.


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