The number of journalists killed around the world in 2009 rose to a record 68 after a massacre in the Philippines, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Thursday.

The press freedom group said the 2009 tally compared to 42 deaths in 2008 and surpassed the previous record of 67 deaths in 2007 — when violence was at its worst in Iraq, which had been the deadliest country for journalists for six years.

This year Iraq dropped to No. 3 on the list of deadliest countries with four journalist deaths, the lowest annual tally recorded since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003.

The Philippines topped the list with 32 deaths — 31 of which happened during a massacre in the South of the country in November. Somalia, which western security agencies say has become a safe haven for militants, including foreign extremists, came in second with nine media deaths.

“This has been a year of unprecedented devastation for the world’s media, but the violence also confirms long-term trends,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Most victims were local reporters covering news in their own communities.

Read More: Reuters

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