Authoritarian governments around the world are intensifying their efforts in gaging journalists and cracking down on Press freedom. A new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) shows that the number of journalists jailed globally in 2022 reached a record high.
According to the report, about 363 journalists were deprived of their freedom as of December 1, 2022, indicating a 20% increase compared to last year’s figure. The report said about 56 journalists were imprisoned in Africa in 2022 alone, with Egypt topping the jailer’s chart.
“Egypt remains the top jailer of journalists across Africa, despite some release under international pressure.
Eritrea is one of the most censored countries in the world. The majority of journalists imprisoned there have been detained without trial for 21 years since the crackdown on the independent press in 2001” the report read in part. Other countries named in the report were: Cameroun, Senegal, and Rwanda.
The report added that “governments around the world are honing tactics like “fake news” laws and using criminal defamation and vaguely worded legislation to criminalize journalism, ignoring the rule of law, abusing the judicial system and exploiting technology to spy on reporters and their families.”
China, Myanmar, and Iran top global list of anti-Press freedom countries
In another report published by Reporter Sans Frontieres (RSF), a total of 533 media professionals were imprisoned globally in 2022, up from 488 recorded in 2021. More than half of the figure was jailed in five countries with China taking the lead at 110, followed by Myanmar at 62, Iran at 47, Vietnam at 39, and Belarus at 31.
The report disclosed that up to 80% of media professionals killed around the world in 2022 were “deliberately targeted in connection with their work or stories bordering on organized crimes and corruption cases,” attributing Iran’s recent crackdown on protesters as the reason for the surge in the number of jailed journalists in 2022.