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China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt are world’s worst jailers of journalists—CPJ

In Sub-Saharan region, Nigeria is ranked second worst

THE Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday said that the number of journalists imprisoned globally for their work in 2019 remained near record high, as authoritarians show no sign of letting up on critical media.

The special global report showed that on a global scale,  a total number of 250 journalists are at least jailed worldwide in 2019 alone.

This number, unfortunately, is a only reduction by five freed journalists compared to 255 reported last year, the report said.

China is ranked the top country with the highest number of imprisoned journalists at 48. China is closely followed by Turkey’s 47, down from 68 last year, while in third place are both Saudi Arabia, Egypt with 26 jailed in each country respectively.

“Saudi authorities barely make any pretence of due process; no charges have been disclosed in 18 of the cases, and those who have been tried have been sentenced in a secretive and often rushed manner.

“Authoritarianism, instability, and protests in the Middle East led to a rise in the number of journalists locked up in the region.

” Turkey, having stamped out virtually all independent reporting,” the report read in part.

Eritrea, in sub-Saharan Africa,  of 39 journalists jailed in the region was leading among with 16 jailed journalists where most have not been heard from for nearly two decades; Cameroon was second with seven incarcerated journalists,  followed by Nigeria with seven too.

The report noted that while the number of journalists in prison within the region was broadly steady with last year, freedom of expression is backsliding in two of the most populous countries, Ethiopia and Nigeria, which does not bode well for journalists.

In addition, the study showed that 98 per cent of journalists jailed worldwide are locals covering their own country. Three of the four journalists with foreign citizenship are imprisoned in Saudi Arabia and the fourth in China.

Russia had seven journalists in custody, four of them because of their work in occupied Crimea documenting the Crimean Tatar minority population and Russian attacks on them.

The survey also showed that 20 of the jailed journalists, or 8 per cent, are female, compared with 13 per cent last year.

Politics and human rights reportages were the stories most likely to land journalists in jail, the report said.

According to the CPJ, more than half of those imprisoned were reporters publishing online.

The countries including Eritrea with 16; Vietnam, with 12; and Iran with 11 were the next-most oppressive countries for journalists, the report said.

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On Wednesday, The Punch Newspaper one of Nigeria prominent print and online publishers condemned the recent lax attitude of President Mohammadu Buhari whom the paper claimed is running an authoritarian regime in Nigeria and not a democracy in light of the recent violation of human rights by officials of the state security and the unlawful imprisonment of journalists in the country.

The paper had said; “As a symbolic demonstration of our protest against autocracy and military-style repression, PUNCH (all our print newspapers, The PUNCH, Saturday PUNCH, Sunday PUNCH, PUNCH Sports Extra, and digital platforms, most especially Punchng.com) will henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s, Major General, and refer to his administration as a regime, until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.”

 

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