Pakistan remained the deadliest country for journalists for the second year in a row, while coverage of political unrest around the world was "unusually dangerous," a press advocacy group said Tuesday.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said in its year-end report that 43 journalists died around the world in 2011. Seven journalists were killed in Pakistan, where 29 journalists have been killed in the past five years.
The New York-based group said the number of deaths while covering dangerous assignments, such as street protests, reached the highest level since 1992. Regionally, most of the deaths were in the Middle East, where 18 journalists died this year, most while covering the Arab world uprisings.
"Photographers and camera operators, often the most vulnerable during violent unrest, died at rates more than twice the historical average," the CPJ report said.
Meanwhile, the number of targeted murders declined, the report said.
Libya and Iraq each had five deaths in 2011, and three journalists were killed in Mexico as coverage of the illegal drug economy there remains dangerous.
A total of 44 journalists died in 2010 _ down from the record 72 who were killed in 2009.
The CPJ said its research shows that about 90 percent of journalist murders go unsolved.
"The combination of dangerous assignments turned deadly and targeted murders that remain unsolved is a double challenge to free expression," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a statement. "Combatants must recognize the right of journalists to cover conflict, while governments must be held accountable for investigating and prosecuting those who carry out crimes against the press."
The press group said it continues to investigate another 35 journalist deaths in 2011 to determine whether they were related to work. Twenty of the cases are in Latin America, "where the web of crime, official corruption, and weak law enforcement often obscures the motive," the CPJ report said.