Record number of journalists were jailed around the world in 2021 with China remaining the world’s worst jailer of journalists for the third year in a row with 50 journalists behind the bars, states a report by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Apart from China, 26 journalists are behind bars in Burma, 25 in Egypt, 23 in Vietnam and 19 in Belarus.
Adding those jailed in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, the CPJ said a total of 293 journalists were in prison worldwide as of December 1.
Forty of the 293 detained journalists – less than 14 per cent – are women.
Executive director of the group Joel Simon said, “This is the sixth year in a row that CPJ has documented record numbers of journalists imprisoned around the world. It’s distressing to see many countries on the list year after year, but it is especially horrifying that Myanmar and Ethiopia have so brutally slammed the door on press freedom.”
According to the report, 24 journalists are believed to be killed around the world this year. India has the highest number of journalists – four – confirmed to have been murdered in retaliation for their work. A fifth was killed while covering a protest. While, in the west, Mexico is at the top as three journalists were murdered for their reporting and the motives for six other killings are under investigation.
The CPJ said the number of journalists behind bars reflects “increasing intolerance for independent reporting around the world”.
Last month, Freedom Network reported that two dozen journalists in Pakistan had been prosecuted (2019-21) over the past under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca).