As many as 85 journalists were shot to death worldwide last year and 17 died in bomb blasts, a new report by the UK-based International News Safety Institute (INSI) has revealed.

The report titled "Killing the Messenger" said most of the dead reporters were specific targets of attack.

A total of 134 journalists died while on duty last year, a vast majority of whom were local reporters.

While 123 of the slain "messengers" were local reporters, only about 11 were international correspondents, the report said. Most of the dead journalists were from the print medium.

The number of deaths has come down from 152 in 2012, but cases of threats, assault and kidnapping have risen, INSI said.

War-torn Syria was the most dangerous country for journalists for the second consecutive year, while Iraq, Philippines, Pakistan and India found a place among countries most unsafe for reporters.

Killed for exposing crime and corruption

The report said more journalists were killed in stable areas than in war zones, while over 92% of those murdered were local journalists.

Only about 65 media professionals died in battle hot spots such as Syria, where the toll went up to 20. As many as 16 reported were killed in Iraq.

Among the other press-unfriendly nations of the world, Philippines reported 14 deaths and India closely followed with 13, while Pakistan recorded 9 fatal attacks on media staff.

As many as 51 media and support staff were murdered in areas free from strife, mostly because of their efforts to expose crime and corruption.

About 18 journalists were victims of accidents, eight of whom died on the road.