The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a press advocacy group, has claimed that more journalists are jailed around the world than at any time since the Committee to Protect Journalists began keeping detailed records in 1990.
In its annual census, the group reports that 259 journalists have been jailed worldwide compared to 199 in 2015. The previous global record was 232 journalists in jail in 2012.
CPJ attributes the record breaking increase to Turkey’s clampdown against journalists it associates with those who plotted the failed coup earlier this year. A total of 81 journalists have been imprisoned in Turkey, with China coming second on the list of journalists jailed with 38.
According to CPJ, protests are also a no-go zone for journalists in Egypt, where CPJ identified 25 in jail, putting it third on the list.
Egyptian prisoners include Mahmoud Abou Zeid, the freelance photojournalist known as Shawkan, who has been behind bars without a conviction since 2013, when he was arrested photographing the violent dispersal of a protest in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
Globally, health problems have been reported for more than 20 per cent of journalists on CPJ’s prison census.
CPJ also notes that nearly three quarters of those imprisoned globally face anti-state charges. Since 2001, governments have exploited national security laws to silence critical journalists covering sensitive issues such as insurgencies, political opposition and ethnic minorities.[Source: News24]