A new report says 2007 has been the deadliest year for journalists in more than a decade, with 64 members of the media killed in direct connection to their work.
The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released the figures Tuesday. It reported 56 killings of media workers last year.
Iraq was the deadliest country for journalists for the fifth straight year, with 31 media workers killed there this year. The report says all but one of the victims were Iraqi, and most were targeted and murdered. It also says 12 media support workers, such as bodyguards and drivers, were killed in Iraq.
The report says journalists who produced critical reporting or covered sensitive stories were silenced in every region of the world.
Those killed include ethnic Uzbek independent reporter Alisher Saipov, who was shot at close range in Kyrgyzstan in October. Saipov reported for the U.S.-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.
The media rights group says it is still investigating 22 other deaths of media workers to determine if they were killed because of their work.
CPJ said it recorded only one year that had a higher death toll than in 2007. It reported 66 media worker killings in 1994 as conflicts raged in Bosnia, Rwanda and Algeria.
The report also highlighted positive changes. It said no journalists were killed in Colombia for the first time in more than 15 years. And it said there were no work-related deaths of Philippine journalists for the first time since 1999.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.