At least 70 journalists were killed on the job around the world in 2013

The deaths of 25 more are also being investigated to establish if they too are work-related

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The Independent Online

At least 70 journalists across the world were killed while they were working in 2013, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

29 journalists died in Syria, including a number of citizen journalists working to document turmoil in their home cities, as well as broadcasters who worked with media outlets affiliated with either the government or the opposition forces.

Correspondents from the foreign press, including the Al-Jazeera reporter Mohamed al-Mesalma who was shot by a sniper, also lost their lives in the country.

10 journalists were killed in Iraq, including five members of the of Salaheddin TV team who died in a suicide attack on the channel's offices in Tikrit,  in December.

Six journalists died in Egypt, with half of those killed while reporting on the 14 August crackdown by Egyptian security forces against  demonstrators demanding the reinstatement of President Mohamed Morsi.

According to the committee's deputy director, Robert Mahoney, the Middle East has become a “killing field” for journalists.

He urged the international community to call on governments and armed groups to “respect the civilian status of reporters and to prosecute the killers of journalists."

“While the number of journalists killed for their work has declined in some places, the civil war in Syria and a renewal of sectarian attacks in Iraq have taken an agonising toll," he added in a statement.

The New York-based body has been tracking the deaths of reporters and broadcasters for almost 20 years.

Many reporters have died during combat, or when covering conflict zones. However, journalists in several countries were also murdered after reporting on sensitive subjects.

Reporters and commentators who covered police misconduct, political corruption or drug trafficking and other sensitive topics were killed in separate incidents in Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Russia.

A pair of Radio France Internationale journalists were abducted and killed after meeting with a leader of ethnic Tuareg separatists in Kidal, Mali.

The CPJ is still looking into the deaths of an additional 25 journalists in 2013, not included in the tally of 70, to determine whether their deaths were related to their work.

To date, at least 63 journalists have been killed covering the conflict in Syria, the CPJ report said, a tally that may yet understate the problem.

Sixty journalists have been abducted in Syria this year alone, with thirty still missing.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.