VIENNA, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- At least 132 reporters and editors were killed in 2012 around the world, the International Press Institute in Vienna reports.
That's the highest number since the organization began keeping records in 1997, the IPI said Monday. The previous high was 2009 when 110 journalists were killed, 32 in a single massacre in the Philippines.
The most lethal country in the past year was Syria, where 31 professional journalists and eight citizen journalists were killed. Both government forces and rebel groups have targeted the news media, IPI said.
"It is almost unbelievable that so many journalists have died this year," IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said.
At least 16 journalists were killed in Somalia, the most casualties in 15 years. IPI said that a number of dangerous countries, including Mexico, where seven journalists were killed, have failed to take steps to protect them.
The group said a number of countries are also attacking press freedom. It cited Ethiopia, where anti-terrorism laws have been extended to cover journalists, but also Britain where a special commission is considering greater regulation of the news media in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.