Forty percent of the 69 journalists killed worldwide in 2015 because of their work were slain by Islamist militant groups, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Tuesday.
CPJ said in its annual analysis that more than two-thirds of the 69 deaths were targeted murders.
The slain journalists died while doing their jobs, CPJ said. The deaths included killings in reprisal for reporting, deaths that occurred due to combat or crossfire and deaths that occurred while journalists were on other dangerous assignments.
The 69 deaths in 2015 exceeds the 61 journalists killed in 2014, the New York City-based organization said. Islamic militant groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda were responsible for killing 28 journalists worldwide.
Syria was the deadliest country for the press in 2015 with 13 journalists killed, followed by France with nine. Iraq, Brazil, Bangladesh, South Sudan and Yemen saw rising numbers of journalists killed, with each country recording at least five.
CPJ said in the years 2012-14, journalist deaths in Syria far outnumbered those in the rest of the world. But this year the 13 killed in the country reflects in part the reduced number of journalists working there.
France was on the list for the first time, due to journalists killed in an attack in January on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Reporters Without Borders, another organization that analyzes the number of journalists who die while doing their jobs, said in its own report, published Tuesday, that 67 journalists were killed. By its count, this was one more than in 2014.
The Berlin-based group said there were another 43 cases in which the motives for the slayings were not yet clarified. Reporters Without Borders said 27 citizen journalists and seven media staff also have been killed this year.
"In far too many countries, journalists risk their lives when they research controversial issues or criticize those in power," Reporters Without Borders spokeswoman Britta Hilpert said. "These figures show all international efforts so far have come to nothing in pushing back targeted violence against journalists."
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