At least 48 journalists worldwide have been killed on the job in 2016 as the year winds down, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. That is down from 72 journalists in 2015.
The report released this week says 26 of the journalists killed this year died in combat or crossfire covering conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Eighteen of the journalists killed in 2016 were directly targeted for death in retaliation for their work, the lowest number since 2002, the committee says.
The decline in targeted killings may be attributable to factors including less risk-taking by the media and the use of other means to silence critical journalists, the report says.
Syria was the deadliest country for journalists for the fifth year in a row, with at least 14 journalists killed there in 2016.
Those killed in Syria included Osama Jumaa, a 20-year-old photographer and video journalist reporting in Aleppo for the international photo agency Images Live. He was traveling in an ambulance to the site of a bombing when the vehicle was hit by Syrian government artillery fire, according to the photo agency. A second round of fire struck the ambulance and killed Jumaa and a paramedic.
Six journalists were killed in Iraq and another six in Yemen this year.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has been tracking deaths among reporters and broadcasters since 1992. The group’s list does not include journalists who died of illness or were killed in car or plane accidents unless the crash was caused by hostile action.
The 48 journalists on the list were killed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 15. The committee is investigating the deaths of at least 27 other journalists in 2016 to determine whether they were work-related.