The Reporters Without Borders group says 49 journalists were killed during 2019, a 16-year low and a 44 percent drop from the number of journos who died during 2018.

The dramatic fall-off from the average 80 journalists a year murdered over the past two decades is largely due to the decline of reporters killed in war zones.

For instance, the 17 reporters killed in Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan this year was half of the number who died in 2018.

RWB though notes that the number of journalists killed in countries that are at peace continues to be as high as previous years. For instance, ten journalists were murdered in Mexico during 2018 and 2019. Latin America is now as dangerous for journalists as the war-torn Middle East.

The frontier between countries at war and countries at peace is in the process of disappearing for journalists,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said in a statement. “We welcome the unprecedented fall in the number of journalists killed in war zones but, at the same time, more and more journalists are being deliberately murdered in connection with their work in democratic countries, which poses a real challenge for the democracies where these journalists live and work.”

While the number of deaths of journalists declined, RWB reports a 12 percent rise to 389 in the number of arbitrarily jailed reporters. China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt account for half of the number of detained journalists.

RWB has charted deadline violence and abusive treatment of journalists since 1995.