Watchdog group: 2014 a brutal year for journalists
Among those killed were American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. (AFP/File)
"Rarely have reporters been murdered with such a barbaric sense of propaganda, shocking the entire world," Reporters Without Borders wrote in its annual report published Tuesday.
Although there were fewer journalists killed in 2014 than in 2013, the watchdog organization found that the publicized beheadings of journalists by Islamist militants in the Middle East "highlights an evolution in the nature of violence against journalists."
"The murders are becoming more and more barbaric, and the number of abductions is growing rapidly, with those carrying them out seeing to prevent independent news coverage and deter scrutiny by the outside world."
Sixty-six journalists were killed in 2014, 119 kidnapped, 853 arrested, 178 imprisoned and 1,846 threatened or attacked, the report determined.
Of those 66 journalists killed in connection with their work, two-thirds were killed in war zones, including Syria, the Palestinian territories, eastern Ukraine, Iraq and Libya.
Among those killed were American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, executed by the Islamic State, which posted videos online depicting their beheadings in response to U.S.-led military action in Iraq.
While the number of dead declined in 2014, Reporters Without Borders found that the killing of female journalists doubled. Six female journalists were killed this year in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq and the Philippines.