China is the world's largest jailer of journalists, according to the sector protection committee

China is the world’s largest jailer of journalists, according to the sector protection committee

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) denounced this Thursday that the number of journalists in prison for their work in the entire world has reached a new record in 2021, with China as the top jailer for the third year in a row.

In its annual census, CPJ recorded the existence of 293 journalists imprisoned globally and 50 of them in China, with the particularity that for the first time several are included in Hong Kong, such as Jimmy Lai, as a result of the security law national implemented in that territory.

Burma – which a year ago was not on the list – has been catapulted to second place after the February military coup and the persecution of independent media, with 26 people in custody identified as journalists, although the situation “It is worse than that total suggests,” says the entity. Other big jailers of journalists are Egypt, Vietnam, Belarus, Turkey, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran and Ethiopia.

CPJ highlights the case in Belarus, which has its highest number of journalists in prison since data collection began in 1992, and cites the “extreme measures” of its leader, Aleksandr Lukashenko, to arrest critical journalist Raman Pratasevich. Also worrying is the case of Ethiopia, which suffers the “biggest setback” for press freedom in sub-Saharan Africa with nine journalists in custody this year, amid civil war between government forces and the popular Tigray liberation front.

The effect of autocratic leaderships

In Latin America, there are six journalists imprisoned in total – three in Cuba, two in Nicaragua and one in Brazil – representing a “relatively low” number, but despite this the organization warns of “a disturbing decline in press freedom in the region”.

CPJ notes that the total number of incarcerated has not dropped below 250 in the past six years, reflecting a “growing intolerance of independent reporting” and a greater tendency for autocratic leaders to “ignore due process and skip international standards. to stay in power. “

Furthermore, with global concern over COVID-19 and climate change, “repressive governments are clearly aware that public outrage over human rights abuses is being dampened. and democratic governments have less appetite for political or economic retaliation, “the organization maintains.

Furthermore, at the close of CPJ’s annual census, there were no jailed journalists in North America, although the entity US Press Freedom Tracker collected 56 arrests of reporters in the US this year, 86% in protests, and two in Canada, also for the same reason.

Around the world, 24 reporters have been killed for their work this year and another 18 have died in circumstances “too opaque to determine whether they were targeted.” of crime. India is the country with the most journalists killed in retaliation for their work, 4, followed by Mexico, with 3.

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