In Afghanistan and Iraq, local journalists have a big advantage over foreign correspondents, said Bob Dietz, Asia program coordinator for CPJ.

“The battlefield has become just too dangerous for anyone to walk around unprotected, and those local reporters who can do that, because they blend in, they fit in, they know all the players, they’re the ones increasingly at risk,” he said. “They are the ones we saw pay an incredible price in Iraq.”

According to CPJ’s impunity index, of the 88 unsolved journalist murders in Iraq over the past decade, all but seven cases involved local journalists.

Local journalists in Afghanistan are at greatest risk when they are with a foreigner, Dietz said. Foreigners are more likely to be kidnapped and later released. The more common fate for the local journalists, he said: they are killed.

Sherisse Pham is a student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously worked as a freelance journalist in Beijing for more than four years, where she interned for CNN and wrote for The South China Morning Post,, WWD, and People, among others.