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Egypt, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia among top 10 worst jailers of journalists, says CPJ

December 14, 2022 at 2:43 pm

A picture taken on January 16, 2022 shows the Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre in Badr city [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

The top jailers of journalists worldwide are Iran, China, Myanmar and Belarus, according to the CPJ’s 2022 prison census.

Also on the list of the top ten worst jailers are two countries from the Middle East and North Africa region, Egypt with 21 reporters in prison, and Saudi Arabia with 11.

Following pressure from the US and the European Parliament, Egypt released some of its journalists this year but has detained others, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Editor-in-chief of the state-run Akhbar El-Barlman, Ahmed Fayez, was arrested on 10 November for writing on Facebook that Egyptian authorities force-fed Alaa Abdelfattah to keep him alive whilst he was on hunger strike.

Fayez was then charged with spreading false news, misusing social media to incite a terrorist crime and belonging to and funding a terror organisation.

Also in November authorities arrested two journalists, Mostafa Moussa and Amr Shnin, from their homes in Alexandria and Cairo.

In September, security forces arrested Saad Diab, a reporter for the state-run Al-Ahram, at Cairo airport as he was getting on a plane to China.

In Saudi Arabia, journalists still work in the aftermath of the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Independent media is non-existent in the kingdom and journalists are under heavy surveillance when they work at home and abroad.

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The CPJ also pointed out how although no journalists were imprisoned in Qatar for their work at the time it carried out its census, the World Cup has shone a light on censorship and strict media laws in the Gulf country.

Ahead of the tournament, the Qatari government effectively barred TV crews from filming at certain sites, such as those housing migrant workers, government buildings and hospitals.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported that migrant workers and their families are demanding compensation from FIFA and Qatari authorities for unexplained deaths whilst preparing for the World Cup.