The president and CEO of The Associated Press has called for changes to international laws that would make it a war crime to kill journalists or take them hostage.

Gary Pruitt said in a speech Monday that a new framework is needed to protect journalists as they cover conflicts in which they are increasingly seen as targets by extremist groups.

Last year was a particularly deadly year for the AP, with four journalists killed on assignment. A total of 61 journalists were killed in the line of duty in 2014, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

One of the most high profile killings was that of AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was shot by a police officer while covering elections in Afghanistan.