Sunday, March 3, 2024

Jailed journalist numbers near record high: CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists 2023 prison census found that 320 journalists remain behind bars, the second-highest recorded since the census began in 1992.

India, which holds seven journalists, has used security laws including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act to silence the media, CPJ stated.

Israel emerged as one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists following the October 7 start of the Gaza war. Israel ranked sixth – tied with Iran – behind China, Myanmar, Belarus, Russia, and Vietnam, respectively.

According to the report, more than half – 168 – listed in the census face false news and anti-state charges such as terrorism in retaliation for their critical coverage. In 66 cases, those held have not yet been told about their charges.

Iran’s numbers saw a sharp decline from its 2022 designation as the worst jailer of journalists following its clampdown on coverage of nationwide women-led protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Many of the 62 journalists listed on the 2022 census have since been released on bail to await charges or sentencing, meaning that the lower number incarcerated in 2023 in no way signals any letting up in Iran’s repression of the media.

As of December 1, 8 of the 17 journalists jailed in Iran were women.

CPJ’s list is a snapshot of those incarcerated at 12:01 a.m. on December 1, 2023. It does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year.

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