International Federation of Journalists says at least 81 reporters were killed doing their jobs this year, while violence and harassment against media staff has skyrocketed.

This file photo taken on June 15, 2017 shows a woman performing during a protest in downtown Mexico City to mark one month since the murder of their colleague Javier Valdez, a noted expert on Mexico's drug cartels and AFP contributor whose death appears far from being brought to justice. (File photo)
This file photo taken on June 15, 2017 shows a woman performing during a protest in downtown Mexico City to mark one month since the murder of their colleague Javier Valdez, a noted expert on Mexico's drug cartels and AFP contributor whose death appears far from being brought to justice. (File photo) (AFP)

At least 81 reporters were killed doing their jobs this year, while violence and harassment against media staff has skyrocketed, the world's biggest journalists' organisation said.

The reporters lost their lives in targeted killings, car bomb attacks and crossfire incidents around the world, the International Federation of Journalists (IFC) said in its annual "Kill Report," seen by The Associated Press.

More than 250 journalists were in prison in 2017.

The number of deaths as of December 29 was the lowest in a decade, down from 93 in 2016. 

IFJ President Philippe Leruth said that while the drop in deaths "represents a downward trend, the levels of violence in journalism remain unacceptably high."

He said the IFJ finds it "most disturbing that this decrease cannot be linked to any measure by governments to tackle the impunity for these crimes."

The largest number were killed in Mexico, but many also died in conflict zones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

TRT World speaks to Anthony Bellanger, a General Secretary of IFJ.

Violence level in journalism

The IFJ suspected but could not officially confirm that at least one other journalist was killed Thursday in an attack by a Daesh suicide bomber on a Shia cultural centre in Kabul, in which at least 41 people died.

Eight women journalists were killed, two in European countries — Kim Wall in Denmark, who died on the submarine of an inventor she was writing about, and Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was blown up by a bomb placed in her car.

Beyond the deaths, the IFJ warned that "unprecedented numbers of journalists were jailed, forced to flee, that self-censorship was widespread and that impunity for the killings, harassment, attacks and threats against independent journalism was running at epidemic levels."

Some 160 journalists are jailed in Turkey — two-thirds of the global total — the report said.

The organisation also expressed concern about India where it said that attacks on journalists are being motivated by violent populism.

Countries with the highest numbers of media killings: Mexico: 13, Afghanistan: 11, Iraq: 11, Syria: 10, India: 6, Philippines: 4, Pakistan: 4, Nigeria: 3, Somalia: 3, Honduras: 3.

Source: AP