Creating new perspectives since 2009

Number of journalists jailed for doing job near record high

December 13, 2018 at 10:23 am

A near-record number of journalists around the world are behind bars for their work, according to a report released today.

There were 251 journalists jailed for doing their jobs as of 1 December, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in an annual study. For the third consecutive year, more than half are in Turkey, China and Egypt, where authorities have accused reporters of anti-governmental activities.

“It looks like a trend now,” the report’s author, Elana Beiser, said in an interview. “It looks like the new normal.”

The number of journalists imprisoned on charges of “false news” rose to 28, up from 21 last year and nine in 2016, according to the CPJ, a US-based non-profit that promotes press freedom.

READ: Israeli forces raid Palestinian news agency for footage 

The report criticised US President Donald Trump for frequently characterising negative media coverage as “fake news”, a phrase that is also used by leaders against their critics in countries like the Philippines.

The study was published the same week that Time magazine named several journalists as its annual “Person of the Year”.

The overall number of jailed journalists is down eight per cent from last year’s record high of 272, the CPJ said.

The total does not take into account journalists who have disappeared or are being held by non-state actors. The CPJ said there are dozens of reporters missing or kidnapped in the Middle East and North Africa, including several held by Houthi rebels in Yemen.