Journalists addressing the United Nations Security Council for the first time Wednesday said world leaders need to do more to protect reporters working in conflict zones and other dangerous situations.

One called for protections similar to those afforded by international diplomats.

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"When a journalist is killed the news dies too," AFP's Somalia correspondent Mustafa Haji Abdinur told council ambassadors.

Nearly 60 journalists have been killed in Somalia since the country's civil war began 20 years ago, including 18 last year, and Abdinur noted he's been called a "dead man walking" for working as a reporter there.

There's a sense of immunity in some countries toward people who kill journalists, and panelists said reporters need greater protections now more than ever.

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"Many of you hate us, by the way, and I know that," said Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, a foreign correspondent for The Guardian who was jailed in Libya and Afghanistan, as diplomats burst into laughter.

"It's a sign that we're doing our job properly if we've managed to piss you off. But there has to be some sort of balance. Just let us be there. Treat us as human beings. Just don't kill us."

More than 600 journalists have died on the job in the past decade, with death rates highest in Iraq, the Philippines, Algeria and Russia last year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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