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Press Freedom

14.12.2022 Featured REPORT: 363 Journalists Imprisoned Worldwide in 2022

Published 14th Dec, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

As of December 1, 363 journalists across the world have been jailed by the governments of their various countries in 2022 for practicing their profession, a new global high that overtakes last year’s record by 20 percent.

The top five jailers of journalists in 2022 are Iran, China, Myanmar, Turkey and Belarus respectively, with Egypt leading the race in Africa. This is according to a report released today by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The CPJ found that 62 journalists have been jailed in Iran, 43 in China, 42 in Myanmar, 40 in Turkey, 26 in Belarus, 21 in Vietnam and Egypt, 19 in Russia, 16 in Eritrea, and 11 in Saudi Arabia.

READ ALSO: LIVING IN BONDAGE: The Trials and Tribulations of Nigerian Journalists

According to the CPJ, at least 56 journalists were imprisoned across Africa in 2022. Eritrea remains the worst jailer of journalists in the Sub-Saharan region, ranking ninth globally, while Cameroon is the second-worst jailer in the region.

In Rwanda, the government has put four journalists behind bars, two of whom are YouTubers subjected to ill-treatment and torture, the CPJ revealed.

“Ethiopia, which last year ranked a close second to Eritrea as the region’s worst jailer of journalists, had only one journalist in jail at the time of this year’s census. However, authorities have intermittently detained more than 60 journalists—most for prolonged periods without formal charges—since the start of Ethiopia’s civil war in November 2020,” the committee said.

“On-the-ground fighting is accompanied by misinformation, disinformation, and a war of narratives on social media. At least five journalists are being held in the Tigray rebel-controlled city of Mekelle. They are not listed in CPJ’s census because their jailers are non-state actors, but they are a telling indicator of the dangerous conditions for reporters trying to cover the conflict.”

READ ALSO: 45 Journalists Were Killed Globally in 2021, More in Mexico Than in Any Other Country

The CPJ found that “a pattern of predawn raids on reporters’ homes, with police seizing their devices and sometimes beating those they took into custody,” was employed by the government to attack reporters.

“In China, authorities tightened online censorship during recent protests over the government’s zero-COVID lockdown policies, and several journalists are reported to have been briefly detained while covering the demonstrations,” it said.

“The number of journalists held in Turkey rose from 18 in 2021 to 40 in 2022 after the arrests of 25 Kurdish journalists in the second half of the year.

“Many now fear that the latest arrests could signal a fresh assault on press freedom ahead of next year’s elections, especially given the Turkish parliament’s October ratification of a controversial media law mandating prison terms for those deemed to be spreading disinformation.”

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Published 14th Dec, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

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