By Erik Sherman
December 19, 2018

For the first time, the U.S. landed among the list of most dangerous places for journalists in 2018.

The ranking comes from the group Reporters Without Borders, also known as RSF for the French name, Reporters Sans Frontières.

The U.S. was fourth on the list because of the June 2018 Capital Gazette mass shooting in Annapolis, Md. Jarrod Ramos allegedly attacked the newspaper’s offices with a shotgun and smoke grenades.

The three more dangerous countries for reporters in 2018 were Afghanistan (15 killed), Syria (11 killed), and Mexico (9 killed). Both Afghanistan and Syria were inside conflict zones. Neither Mexico nor the United States were.

In all, 80 journalists were killed in connection with their work, an 8% increase over last year. That includes citizen-journalists as well. The number of professional journalists increased 15% since last year, from 55 to 63. In addition, 348 journalists are currently in prison with another 60 held hostage.

“Violence against journalists has reached unprecedented levels this year, and the situation is now critical,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement. “The hatred of journalists that is voiced, and sometimes very openly proclaimed, by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists.”

According to a separate RSF ranking, the U.S. is in 45th place out of 180 countries when it comes to press freedom.

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