An "unusually high proportion," or about one-fourth, of those killed were international journalists, though the overwhelming number of journalists threatened continue to be local, the New York-based organization's new report said.
The CPJ report released early Tuesday said the number of journalists killed in 2014 was down from 70 the year before, but the past three years have been the deadliest since the organization started compiling such records in 1992.
The crushing conflict in Syria, now well into its fourth year, has been a major factor. The report said at least 17 journalists were killed
The conflict in Ukraine between the new government and Russian-backed separatists saw five journalists and two media workers killed as relations between neighboring Russia and the West sank to their lowest level since the Cold War. The killings were the first that the CPJ had recorded in Ukraine since 2001.
Fifty days of fighting in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinians over the summer saw at least four journalists and three media workers killed.
In Iraq, at least five journalists were killed, three of them while covering the fight against the Islamic State group as it swept through the country's northwest.