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Second worst year for journalists in jail

Journalists are arrested by Israeli soldiers south of the West Bank city of Hebron on February 9, 2013
Journalists are arrested by Israeli soldiers south of the West Bank city of Hebron on February 9, 2013

The number of journalists killed and imprisoned fell in 2013 but it was still the second worst year on record for reporters in prison, a US-based watchdog said Wednesday.

So far this year, 52 journalists have been killed as a direct result of their work, down from 73 last year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), based in New York.

For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world's leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China.

Those countries accounted for more than half of the 211 journalists imprisoned around the world in 2013.

"Jailing journalists for their work is the hallmark of an intolerant, repressive society," said CPJ executive director Joel Simon.

In Vietnam, the number of journalists behind bars rose from 14 in 2012 to 18 after what CPJ called an intensified crackdown on bloggers.

"It is disturbing to see the number of jailed journalists rise in countries like Vietnam and Egypt," said Simon.

"But it is frankly shocking that Turkey would be the world’s worst jailer of journalists for the second year in a row."

CPJ said it was the second worst year since records began in 1990 in terms of journalists behind bars. In 2012, there were 232.

The civil war in Syria, which has killed more than 126,000 people and created 2.4 million refugees, represented the deadliest country for journalists for a second year running.

CPJ said 21 reporters were killed in Syria, six in Egypt, five in Pakistan, four in Somalia, three in Brazil and another three in Iraq. In Mali and Russia, two were killed.

One journalist was killed each in Turkey, Bangladesh, Colombia, Philippines, India and Libya.

The number of journalists imprisoned by the Syrian government fell from 15 in 2012 to 13, but dozens of others have been abducted and are believed to be held by armed opposition groups.

About 30 journalists are missing in Syria.

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