CPJ: More Than 250 Journalists Jailed Globally

For the third consecutive year, more than 250 journalists worldwide are imprisoned in retaliation for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in its annual survey released last week.

320px-Myanmar Police outside Insein Township courtroom Aung Naing Soe-VOA Myanmar police officers stand on guard outside a courtroom during the trial of two imprisoned Reuters journalists. (VOA)The past three years have recorded the highest number of jailed journalists around the globe, which the press freedom organization says is a troubling signal that an authoritarian approach to critical news coverage is a trend rather than a temporary spike.

“This is a form of state censorship through imprisonment,” CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney told NPR. “This is the deliberate targeting of journalists and bloggers by governments who do not want their voice to be heard.”

The majority of the jailed journalists - 70 percent - face anti-state charges, such as belonging to or aiding terrorist organizations, and 98 percent are imprisoned by their own governments.

Reporters covering politics have the most dangerous beat, followed by human rights.

For the third year in a row, Turkey, China, and Egypt are responsible for more than half of the world’s imprisoned reporters.

Turkey remained the worst jailer with 68 journalists behind bars.

The number of reporters locked up on charges of false news rose to 28, according to the report, compared with nine just two years ago. Eighteen percent are detained without charge.

The CPJ’s census only accounts for journalists in government custody. Those who have disappeared or are held captive by non-state actors are not counted, and the CPJ estimates dozens of journalists have been kidnapped or gone missing amid conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.