A press safety watchdog group says Iraq remains the most dangerous place for journalists for the fourth year in a row.

The International Press Institute recorded the deaths of 46 journalists in Iraq during 2006. That is twice the number of the previous year and almost half of the total worldwide.

It say 44 of the victims were Iraqi nationals, several of whom worked for international news organizations.

The group criticized the Iraqi government for its failure to protect journalists. Fourteen journalists already have died in Iraq this year.

The report issued by the Vienna-based organization said 100 journalists were killed worldwide in 2006, making it the most deadly year for journalists since the group began conducting its annual survey in 1997.

The report, The World Press Freedom Review, indicated other threats to media freedom around the world, including the imprisonment of journalists and legal challenges.

Asia was the most dangerous region with 29 murders, 10 of which were in the Philippines. Fifteen journalists were killed in Latin America.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.