(CNSNews.com) -- The latest report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows that 80 journalists were killed in 2018 worldwide, and that 49 of them were murdered or deliberately attacked; the other 31 were killed in the field doing their job -- they were not targeted.
The report also shows that the deadliest place for journalists was Afghanistan, with 15 deaths. Syria was the second deadliest location with 11 deaths, followed by Mexico (9 deaths), Yemen (8 deaths), India (6 deaths) and the United States (6 deaths).
The RSF is a non-profit organization with headquarters in Paris, bureaus in 17 cities, and correspondents in 130 countries. The group also has consultative status with the United Nations.
For the 80 journalists killed in 2018, according to the RSF, 63 were professional journalists, 13 were non-professional reporters (bloggers, citizen journalists), and 4 were media workers. Seventy-seven of the journalists killed were men and 3 were women.
"The number of professional journalists killed rose 15%, from 55 in 2017 to 63 in 2018," said the RSF. "The number of non-professional journalists also rose, from seven last year to 13 this year. Non-professional journalists play a fundamental role in the production of news and information in countries with oppressive regimes and countries at war, where it is hard for professional journalists to operate. In addition to these very alarming figures, there are ten other deaths that RSF is still investigating."
"In all, 49 of these journalists (61% of the total) were deliberately targeted because their reporting threatened the interests of certain people in positions of political, economic, or religious power or organized crime," reads the report. "The cases of Ján Kuciak, a Slovak investigative reporter shot dead in his home on 21 February, and Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist murdered in the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on 2 October, show how far some people will go to silence 'troublesome' journalists."
Fifteen journalists and media workers were killed in violent attacks in Afghanistan in 2018. "A double bombing in Kabul on 30 April killed nine journalists, including AFP photographer Sha Marai Fezi and six Radio Free Europe and Tolo News reporters," according to the RSF report. "Claimed by Islamic State, this attack deliberately targeted journalists. It is regarded as the deadliest attack on the media in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, and the deadliest attack against journalists in the world since the 2009 massacre in Maguindanao, in the Philippines, in which at least 32 journalists were killed."
"A tenth journalist, BBC reporter Ahmad Shah, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen a few hours later the same day in Khost," said the RSF.
For the 11 journalists killed in Syria, two were professional reporters and eight were non-professional reporters and one media worker.
In Yemen, when not being killed in air strikes, "journalists die as a result of mistreatment in prison," said the RSF. "This was the case with Anwar al Rakan, a journalist who was held by the Houthis for nearly a year. He died on 2 June just days after being released in an already terminal condition. His family said he was ravaged by starvation, torture, and disease when released."
In the United States, six journalists were killed in 2018. Four of the reporters "were among the five employees of the Capital Gazette, a local newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, who were killed on 28 June when a man walked in and opened fire with a shotgun," reads the report. "He had been harassing the newspaper for six years on Twitter about a 2011 article that named him. It was the deadliest attack on a media outlet in the US in modern history."
"Two other journalists, a local TV anchor and cameraman, were killed by a falling tree while covering Subtropical Storm Alberto’s extreme weather in North Carolina in May," reported the RSF.