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69 journalists were killed in the line of duty this year

Almost half died at the hands of Islamic militant groups.

A NEW REPORT has confirmed that 69 journalists were killed in the line of duty this year.

A further 26 died while working but the motives for their deaths are still being investigated. They may be included in the final tally by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Of the 69, some were murdered because of their work while others were caught in crossfire, killed in combat or died while on a dangerous assignment.

Islamic militant groups, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, were responsible for killing at least 28 of the slain journalists.

France was second only to Syria in terms of its death toll due to the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices in January. A total of nine journalists were killed in France during 2015, eight of them in the attack which al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for.

France Prophet Film AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Thirteen journalists died in Syria, a much lower number than in the previous three years. However, this reflects the fact fewer people are working there rather than it being a less dangerous zone.

Most international media organisations refuse to send staff to the country while the majority of Syrian journalists have fled to neighbouring lands.

Mysteries in Iraq

The CPJ is concerned that more media people have been killed over the past 12 months but they have difficulty in researching cases in Libya, Yemen and Iraq.

It undertook a research mission in Iraq to investigate whether 35 journalists from Mosul were missing, dead or held captive by the so-called Islamic State group. With information scarce because of the militant group’s power in the city, only a handful of deaths were confirmed.

South Sudan, Poland and Ghana appeared on the CPJ database for the first time this year.

Lukasz Masiak, founder and editor of a Polish news website was assaulted in a bowling alley. He died from his injuries. A crime writer, he had told colleagues he feared for his life.

George Abanga, a radio reporter in Ghana, was covering a cocoa farmer dispute when he was shot dead at close range.

Also included in this year’s tragic list are the two journalists who were shot dead while broadcasting live from Virginia in the US.

Alison Parker and Adam Ward died when a former employee at their station, Bryce Williams, opened fire on them as they interviewed a local businesswoman.

More: President leads tributes after death of Irish author Aidan Higgins

Read: Former Kerry football star Curtin, 26, dies following accident in Guatemala

Earlier: Young man spent Christmas in hospital after mystery assault

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