PARIS: Sixty-six journalists were killed and more than 1,000 were arrested worldwide in 2011, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.
Of the total of 66 journalists killed in 2011, 20 were killed in the Middle East (twice as many as in 2010), Qatar News Agency reported citing RSF as saying.
A similar number were killed in Latin America, which is very exposed to the threat of criminal violence.
For the second year running, Pakistan was the single deadliest country with a total of 10 journalists killed, most of them murdered. China, Iran and Eritrea continue to be the world's biggest prisons for the media, RSF said.
"Overall, 2011 took a heavy toll on media freedom," RSF said in a statment Thursday.
"There were many cases of journalists being physically obstructed in the course of their work (by being detained for short periods or being summoned for interrogation), and for the most part they represented attempts by governments to suppress information they found threatening."
From Cairo's Tahrir Square to Khuzdar in southwestern Pakistan, from Mogadishu to the cities of the Philippines, the risks of working as a journalist at times of political instability were highlighted more than ever in 2011.
RSF added that the street was where danger was to be found in 2011, often during demonstrations that led to violent clashes with the security forces or degenerated into open conflict.
The Arab Spring, the protest movements it inspired in nearby countries such as Sudan and Azerbaijan, and the street protests in other countries such as Greece, Belarus, Uganda, Chile and the United States were responsible for the dramatic surge in the number of arrests, from 535 in 2010 to 1,044 in 2011, RSF said. - Bernama