262 journalists imprisoned by 'world's worst jailers', CPJ reports

262 journalists imprisoned by 'world's worst jailers', CPJ reports

262 journalists imprisoned by 'world's worst jailers', CPJ reports

The Committee to Protect Journalists said the number of imprisoned journalists is the highest since it began conducting its annual survey of journalists behind bars in the early 1990s.

Campaigners say the 262 reporters behind bars this year reflects a dismal failure to address a global crisis around press freedom.

After Turkey and China comes Egypt as the worst country for journalists with 20 journalists now behind bars. In second place is China with 41 detainees; third is Egypt, where 20 people were persecuted.

The constant rise in the numbers is attributed to failure by US and other Western powers to rein in the world's worst jailers -Turkey, China, and Egypt - into improving the press freedom climate. Countries that jail journalists for what they publish are violating worldwide law and must be held accountable. "The fact that repressive governments are not paying a price for throwing journalists in jail represents a failure of the worldwide community", he added.

"Globally, 194 journalists, or 74 percent, are imprisoned on anti-state charges", adds the report.

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The CPJ said governments used the broad and vaguely worded terror laws to intimidate critical journalists into silence.

Noted as one of the "most unsafe beat [s]", 87 percent of the journalists sitting in jail cells covered politics.

Freelancers account for 75 cases which represents 29 per cent. "At the same time, President Donald Trump's nationalistic rhetoric, fixation on Islamic extremism, and insistence on labelling critical media "fake news" serves to reinforce the framework of accusations and legal charges that allow such leaders to preside over the jailing of journalists", it read. Other countries with high numbers of jailed journalists were Eritrea (15), Vietnam and Azerbaijan (10 each), Uganda (8), Saudi Arabia and Syria (7 each), Bahrain (6), and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iran, and Russian Federation (4 each). Among other countries in South Asia, the CPJ list features two jailed journalists from Pakistan, four in Bangladesh.

China is reportedly one of the few countries who arbitrarily arrests journalists. CPJ.

Some journalists affiliated with CPJ fear U.S. President Donald Trump's attacks on the media and what he terms "fake news" on Twitter and during some of his speeches will have a dampening effect on a free press in the U.S.as well, although arrests of journalists here are not likely. In Egypt, CPJ found more than half of the jailed journalists have health conditions. These cases are classified as "missing" or "abducted". Journalists remain on CPJ's list until the organisation determines with reasonable certainty that they have been released or have died in custody.

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