Jailed journalist numbers at record high


The number of journalists jailed globally hit a new high in 2020 as governments cracked down on coverage of Covid-19 or political unrest, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The number of journalists in prison around the world this year has reached a record high of 274 (as of Dec 1, 2020), up from around 250 in 2019.

Political unease and protests, mostly fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic, were the cause of many arrests in 2020 – the most being made in China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The report lays some blame at the feet of U.S. President Donald Trump, whose anti-journalism “fake news” rhetoric over the last few years has emboldened authoritarian regimes to crack down on reporting in their own countries.

Globally, 34 journalists were jailed for “false news” in 2020, compared with 31 in 2019, with at least two dying from Covid-19 while in custody, the CPJ said.

67% of those imprisoned were charged with anti-state crimes such as terrorism, while 19% were detained without charge.

Of those arrested, 87% are men and 13% are women.

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