A press release issued by the Geneva-based NGO said about two-thirds of the 127 dead journalists were on duty.

"Media workers have an important role to play in the fight against the new virus, they have to inform about the spread of the disease. A number of them died for lack of adequate protective measures when doing their job," said PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen.

The PEC said that its count was based on the use of numerous sources: national associations of journalists, local media and PEC correspondents around the world.

The statement added that Peru is currently the country with the highest number of victims (15).

It is followed by Brazil and Mexico with both 13 deaths.

In the United States, 12 journalists have died. Russia and Britain have recorded five deaths each.

Latin America was the most affected continent, with at least 62 journalists killed by the virus. Europe so far has 23 victims, Asia's 17, North America's 13 and Africa's 12.

Founded in June 2004 by an international group of journalists, the PEC is a non-governmental organization with special consultative United Nations status, whose aim is to strengthen the legal protection and safety of journalists in conflict zones, areas of civil unrest, or on dangerous missions.