More than 100 others were were attacked, intimidated, arrested and wounded in countries including Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen, the Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign said.
Mexico and Pakistan were the most dangerous countries to work in however.
The PEC said 12 journalists died in Mexico, likely victims of the ongoing conflict between the military and drug cartels in the north of the country.
“The casualties could be higher if figures were known for journalists who were victims of enforced disappearances,” the group said in a statement.
Pakistan came second with 11 journalists killed, the majority of whom died on the border with Afghanistan, followed by Iraq, Libya and the Philippines.
Seven journalists were killed in the conflict which saw the toppling of strongman Colonel Moamer Kadhafi earlier this year.
Two thirds of the journalists killed were intentionally targeted, the PEC said, particularly in Latin America where the body said press freedom was threatened.
Others were accidentally killed during demonstrations, in fights, in suicide bombings or in mine explosions.
“There are half a dozen cases worldwide where the causes leading to the death of journalists are still unclear,” said secretary General Blaise Lempen.
The toll was down one on 2010 when 105 journalists were killed.