Fifty journalists and media workers were killed in connection with their work in 2020, according to the latest report by Reporters Without Borders.
The watchdog said the majority of the deaths happened in countries that are not at war
The figure shows an increase in the targeting of reporters investigating organised crime, corruption or environmental issues, the watchdog said.
It highlighted murders in Mexico, India and Pakistan.
Mexico was the deadliest country, with eight killed. “Links between drug traffickers and politicians remain, and journalists who dare to cover these or related issues continue to be the targets of barbaric murders,” said the report.
None of the Mexico killings had yet been punished, added RSF, which has compiled annual data on violence against journalists around the globe since 1995.
Five journalists were killed in war-torn Afghanistan, it said, noting an increase in targeted attacks on media workers in recent months even as peace talks between the government and Taliban are ongoing.
"They publish reports, disturbing investigations and because they share this information, which embarrasses governments, they are targeted and deliberately eliminated," said Pauline Adès-Mevel, Editor-in-Chief and spokesperson of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Ades-Mevel said RSF had also noted the “developing” trend of violence against media workers covering protests, notably in the United States following the killing of George Floyd, and in France against a controversial new security law
"One of the new finds in this report was that seven journalists were killed while covering protests in the streets, outside. This is a worrying figure. A trend that we see all over the world."
Two journalists died in Nigeria during protests in 2020.
Meanwhile, the report said 387 journalists are currently detained in connection with their work.
Fourteen of those had been arrested in connection with their coverage of the coronavirus crisis, it said.
RSF called the death of journalist Samuel Wazizi while in prison was the worst crime against a journalist in the past 10 years in Cameroon.