Number of Journalists Killed Balloons to 110 This Year

Reporters Without Borders’ annual round-up finds a spike in deaths and a surge in French murders

Journalism was a deadlier business this year, especially in countries considered to be at peace.

In its annual report on violence against the press worldwide Tuesday, nonprofit Reporters Without Borders counted 110 journalist deaths in 2015, up from 66 a year earlier.

The surge occurred as many more  journalists’ deaths were unexplained this year. In 43 cases this year, the motives or reasons are unclear because of  “the lack of thorough and impartial official investigations, the lack of good faith on the part of governments, or the difficulty of investigating in unstable or lawless regions,” the group said. There were no such deaths last year.

An additional 67 people were either deliberately murdered because of their work or killed while reporting, one more than in 2014.

That number more closely matches the findings of the Committee to Protect Journalists, another nonprofit investigating press freedom worldwide.

In its own annual report released Tuesday, CPJ found 69 journalists were killed this year, up from last year’s tally of 61. CPJ said it was investigating the deaths of at least 26 more journalists during the year to determine whether they were work-related.

Both groups found Syria and France to be among the deadliest countries for members of the press.

Reporters Without Borders noted that this year was unique for the number of deaths outside war zones: Two-thirds of killings happened in countries considered “at peace,” a reversal of last year’s two-third occurring in places at war. The January attack on Charlie Hebdo in France, where 11 workers were shot dead at the satirical newspaper, was the most significant contributor to flipping the trend.