BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- United Nations officials on Thursday highlighted the need to defend freedom of expression and ensure the safety of journalists.
The yaer 2012 is set to become one of the deadliest years for media workers covering not just conflicts but also illegal activities in their countries, a UNESCO official said.
"Today's meeting could not be more timely," Irina Bokova, said in her message to the UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity in Vienna.
"More than 100 journalists have been killed so far this year, making 2012 the deadliest year for the media since UNESCO began keeping records on the killings of journalists. And we are only in November."
UNESCO official Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal pointed to Israel's killing of three journalists since last Wednesday during an assault on the Gaza Strip.
"In the past week alone, in Gaza and southern Israel, we have seen disturbing reports indicating that journalists and their offices have been targeted during the conflict.
"We condemn such attacks and I urge all sides to respect the civilian status of journalists and their right to carry out their professional duties," Launsky-Tieffenthal said.