A total 103 journalists were killed in 2011, with Mexico the most dangerous place to work for the media, Vienna-based press watchdog IPI said Thursday.
This was the second highest toll on record after 2009, when 110 journalists were killed while covering a story.
"The numbers are getting worse," the International Press Institute said in a statement, noting that 55 journalists were killed in 2001.
"In 2002, 19 countries appeared on the IPI Death Watch list. In 2011, there were 40 -- more than in any year of the past decade."
With 10 journalists killed there in the past year, Mexico was the deadliest country for the media to work, IPI said.
Iraq came second with nine deaths -- mostly from bombings -- followed by Honduras, Pakistan and Yemen, each with six deaths, and Libya and Brazil with five deaths.
In North Africa and the Middle East, journalists were mostly killed during the Arab Spring uprisings.
In sub-Saharan Africa, in Russia and in several cases in Pakistan, the reporters were victims of targeted killings, IPI said.
"Almost all of the journalists killed in 2011 were local reporters and cameramen covering local conflicts, corruption and other illegal activities, it said.
"Tragically, the likelihood that the perpetrators will be brought to justice is close to zero. Impunity is fuelling the murders."
IPI also noted a "trend of increasing violence against journalists in the Western hemisphere" and called on governments to respect the media's right to work freely.
Aside from targeted killings, the IPI Death Watch list includes journalists killed in natural disasters, plane crashes and attacks while covering a story.
In its own tally for 2011, Reporters without Borders counted 66 journalists' deaths.