Thirteen journalists were killed in Iraq during hostile actions, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists on Friday. Six others who died from illness or traffic accidents while covering the war were not included in the total.
In 2002, 19 journalists were killed worldwide. The death toll in Iraq was the highest from a single country since 24 journalists were killed in Algeria in 1995 during civil strife between the government and Islamist rebels, CPJ said.
Two Reuters reporters were among those killed in Iraq. Cameraman Taras Protsyuk, a 35-year-old Ukrainian, was killed along with Spanish television cameraman Jose Couso in Baghdad on 8 April when a US tank fired on the Palestine Hotel, where most of the international press corps in Iraq was based.
A Reuters journalist injured when
US forces hit the Palestine Hotel
An Aljazeera journalist was killed when a US missile hit the broadcaster's Baghdad offices, killing Tariq Ayub and wounding another member of staff. Another Arab satellite station, Abu Dhabi TV, said its Baghdad bureau had also been hit.
The US denied accusations it had deliberately targeted Aljazeera, whose office in Afghanistan was one of the first targets hit in Kabul when US-backed Northern Alliance fighters took the Afghan capital in 2001.
Mazin Dana, 41, an award-winning Palestinian cameraman working for Reuters, was killed on 17 August in Iraq by machine-gun fire from a US tank as he was filming near a prison outside Baghdad.
Mazin Dana, seen protesting over
Israeli media killings, died in Iraq
"The war that began in March posed many hazards for journalists, but seasoned war correspondents tell us that even in the postwar period Iraq remains the most dangerous assignment they have ever had," said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper.
"It has been particularly troubling to see at least four journalists killed as a result of US military actions in Iraq," said Cooper, "and CPJ continues to demand a full public accounting from the Pentagon for these incidents."
In the Middle East's other major conflict, two journalists were killed by Israeli army gunfire in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, bringing to six the number of journalists killed since a Palestinian uprising began in 2000.
War and other conflicts were not the greatest threats to journalists in much of the rest of the world.
Nearly all the journalists killed outside Iraq were deliberately targeted, often in reprisal for their critical reporting, according to CPJ.
In the Philippines, five journalists were killed for covering local corruption or criticising public officials. In Colombia, three journalists were murdered because of their work and one was killed in cross-fire.
And in Russia, the editor of an independent publication known for its reporting on organized crime and corruption was stabbed to death outside his home.
CPJ said it is still investigating four journalists who are missing and 12 whose killings may have been related to their professional work.