Senegal: CPJ says 10 countries are 'worst jailers of journalists' worldwide

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released its latest prison census report, naming 10 countries as among "the worst jailers of journalists worldwide".

In a statement made available to PANA in Dakar on Tuesday, the press freedom body disclosed that China was holding 49 journalists behind bars, the highest number ever recorded there and making it the worst jailer of journalists worldwide for the second year in a row.

The other top worst jailers of journalists in 2015 are Egypt, Turkey, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam.

According to CPJ, the number of journalists jailed in Egypt and Turkey also rose dramatically in 2015, even as the number of journalists imprisoned globally declined modestly from the record highs of the past three years.

"The majority of jailed journalists are concentrated in just a handful of countries, including Turkey and Egypt, which have both nearly doubled the number of journalists in jail in the past year," remarked Joel Simon, CPJ's Executive Director.

The statement pointed out that going by CPJ's findings, Egypt was holding 23 journalists behind bars compared with 12 of last year.

In Turkey, the number of journalists jailed doubled to 14 over the same period, include Iraqi journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool.

The media watchdog pointed out that globally, there were 199 journalists behind bars on 1 December, 2015 but the list did not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year.

For the second year since CPJ began compiling surveys of imprisoned journalists in 1990, not a single journalist in the Americas was imprisoned in relation to work on 1 December.

The statement went on to note that of the 199 journalists imprisoned worldwide, more than half worked online and freelancers made up less than one-third of imprisoned journalists, a percentage that has declined steadily since 2011.

CPJ said the most common charges used to put journalists in jail were anti-state, citing the case of Washington Post reporter, Jason Rezaian who has been held in Iran for more than 500 days on charges including espionage.

Meanwhile, the prison census does not include journalists who disappear or are abducted by non-state entities such as criminal gangs or militant groups.

According to the statement, such cases are classified as "missing" or "abducted" and  CPJ estimates that at least 40 journalists are missing in the Middle East and North Africa, many of whom are believed to be held by militant groups including Islamic State.
-0- PANA MLJ/MA 15Dec2015

15 december 2015 12:36:02

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