Journalists across the world are walking on the thin ice doing their jobs as the number of jailed journalists imprisoned for their work hit a historical high in 2017.
For the second consecutive year, more than half of those jailed for their work are behind bars in Turkey, China, and Egypt. This is a clear indication of the failure by the international community to address a global crisis in freedom of the press.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ in its annual prison census, CPJ found 262 journalists behind bars around the world in relation to their work, a new record after a historical high of 259 last year. The worst three jailers are responsible for jailing 134–or 51 percent–of the total. CPJ has been conducting an annual survey of journalists in jail since the early 1990s.
Turkey remains the world’s worst jailer for the second consecutive year, with 73 journalists behind bars, compared with 81 last year. Every journalist CPJ found jailed for their work in Turkey is under investigation for, or charged with, anti-state crimes, as was true of last year’s census.
In China, the number of journalists behind bars rose to 41 from 38 a year earlier. in Egypt, the number of journalists in jail fell to 20 from 25 last year. Of the 20 journalists in Egyptian jails, 12 have not been convicted or sentenced for any crime.
Globally, 194 journalists, or 74 percent, are imprisoned on anti-state charges. Worldwide, CPJ has found that governments use broad and vaguely worded terror laws to intimidate critical journalists into silence. Legal provisions often conflate coverage of terrorist activity with condoning it.
Other findings from CPJ’s prison census include:
- Ninety-seven percent of jailed journalists are local.
- Of the total imprisoned worldwide, 22—or 8 percent—are female journalists.
- Freelancers account for 75 cases–or 29 percent.
- Politics is by far the most dangerous beat, covered by 87 percent of those jailed. Many journalists cover more than one beat.
- Countries appearing on the census for the first time in at least 12 months are Algeria, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Iraq, Morocco, Niger, Pakistan, Republic of Congo, Somalia, Uganda, and Ukraine.
Source: Committee to Protect Journalists