Most Jailed Journalists? China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt Again Top Annual CPJ Report

The number of journalists imprisoned globally remains near a record high, according to an annual survey released Wednesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which identifies China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt as the world’s largest jailers of reporters.”For the fourth consecutive year, hundreds of journalists are imprisoned globally as authoritarians like Xi Jinping, Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, Mohammad bin Salman, and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi show no signs of letting up on the critical media,” says A Turkish police officer walks past a picture of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi prior to a ceremony, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, marking the one-year anniversary of his death, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.The growing number of arrests and documented abuse, say CPJ researchers, reflect a brutal crackdown on dissent under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom U.S. and UN officials blame for the October 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Istanbul.The crown prince told CBS News’s “60 Minutes” in September accepted responsibility for Kashoggi’s murder, but denied that it was done on his order.┬áMost of the 26 reporters currently imprisoned in Egypt, CPJ reports, are prosecuted en masse, brought before a judge in groups, typically to face charges of terrorism and “fake news” reports.Egyptian government officials, much like their counterparts in Turkey, China, Russian, and Iran, typically insist they target only reporters who aim to destabilize their respective countries.CPJ’s 2019 census also says Iran saw an uptick of journalist incarcerations in 2019, as did Russia, which now has seven reporters in state custody.”Of 38 journalists jailed in sub-Saharan Africa, the bulk remain in Eritrea, where most have not been heard from for nearly two decades,” the report says, adding that Cameroon has the second worst record of African nations, while evidence of free-speech safeguards are backsliding in Ethiopia and Nigeria.Three journalists are jailed in the Americas, with incarcerations in Venezuela, Honduras, and Cuba.”The highest number of journalists imprisoned in any year since CPJ began keeping track is 273 in 2016,” the report states. “After China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the worst jailers are Eritrea, Vietnam, and Iran.”CPJ’s annual census does not account for disappeared journalists or those held by non-state actors. The survey accounts only for journalists in government custody as of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 1, 2019.

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