A report by the Community to Protect Journalists (CPJ) states that China is the world’s deadliest jailer of journalists.
This is contained in a statement published on CPJ’s website on Thursday for its annual prison census and survey of attacks on the press.
CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organisation that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.
The organisation says in its 2021 prison census that 50 journalists have been jailed in China during the year.
It states that China is followed by Myanmar which has jailed 26 journalists and arrested scores of reporters following its February 1 military coup.
According to the statement, Myanmar is followed closely by Egypt which has jailed 25 journalists; Vietnam, 23; and Belarus, 19.
The report also states that 293 journalists were arrested and 24 others died through targeted killings in 2021.
“This is the sixth year in a row that CPJ has documented record numbers of journalists imprisoned around the world. The number reflects two inextricable challenges governments are determined to control and manage information, and they are increasingly brazen in their efforts to do so,” says CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.
Simon also says that imprisoning journalists for reporting the news is the hallmark of an authoritarian regime.
“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,” Simon says.
The statement further reads that Turkey, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran are also among the top ten states where governments “routinely weaponise tech and security laws to stifle dissent and continue to flout international norms without consequence.”
“Globally, anti-state charges remain the most common, but this year CPJ also documented at least 17 jailed journalists charged with cybercrimes, which in some cases can result in criminal prosecution for anything published or distributed online,” the statement reads.
CPJ also notes that of journalists that died worldwide in 2021, nearly 80 per cent of them were murdered.
The organisation further says that India with four cases has the highest number of journalists confirmed to have been killed in direct retaliation for their work, and another killed while covering a protest.
“In democratic and authoritarian regimes alike, the cycle of impunity remains, sending a chilling message that perpetrators will not be held accountable,” CPJ further says.