More than 130 journalists and media workers were killed worldwide last year including 31 murdered in a massacre in the Philippines, according to figures released by the International Federation of Journalists.
The IFJ said the number of targeted killings, 113, was one of the highest ever recorded as a total of 137 media staff were killed carrying out their jobs in 2009.
The most devastating single event occurred on 23 November when 31 journalists were amongst a group of 57 people murdered in the run-up to mayoral elections in the Philippines.
The killings made the Philippines the most dangerous country for journalists last year with 38 deaths in total. This was 25 more than Mexico, the country with the second highest death total, where 13 were killed.
Deaths in Iraq, which the IFJ said has been the most dangerous country for journalists over the decade, were down to five.
Jim Boumelha, IFJ President, said: “The devastating massacre of 31 journalists and media staff in the Philippines in November and fresh violence against colleagues in Mexico and Somalia have made this a year of terrible bloodshed for media.”
A range of organisations compile figures on the number of journalists killed over the year.
The Committee to Protect Journalists recorded 94 deaths in 2009, and Reporters Sans Frontieres 76, but neither included other media personnel.
According to RSF, 167 journalists are also currently imprisoned around the world.