Sixty-seven journalists were killed in the line of duty this year, and another 43 died in circumstances that were unclear, the watchdog group said in its annual roundup.

Another 27 non-professional "citizen-journalists" and seven other media workers were also killed.

The high toll is 'largely attributable to deliberate violence against journalists' and demonstrates the failure of initiatives to protect media personnel, the report said, calling for the United Nations to take action.

In 2014, it said, two-thirds of the journalists killed were in war zones. But in 2015, it was the exact opposite: "Two-thirds were killed in countries 'at peace'."

The 67 deaths bring to 787 the total number of journalists who were murdered, knowingly targeted or killed in the course of their work since 2005, the Paris-based organisation said. In 2014, there were 66 such fatalities.

Those murdered in Syria included Japanese freelance reporter Kenji Goto, whose execution by the Islamic State group was unveiled in a macabre video in January.

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