Number of jailed journalists approaches record high, report says

More than 250 journalists around the globe are in jail because of their work as of Dec. 1, according to an annual report from the Committee to Protect Journalists released Thursday. 

The organization found that at least 251 journalists are currently jailed for the third straight year in what the group warned is becoming the "new normal." This year's figure was slightly lower than each of the past two years.

"For the third year in a row, 251 or more journalists are jailed around the world, suggesting the authoritarian approach to critical news coverage is more than a temporary spike," wrote Elana Beiser, the author of the report.

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More than half of the imprisoned journalists are located in Turkey, China and Egypt, the report found.

At least 68 journalists were jailed in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan emerged earlier this year as a central voice in the investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

At least 16 journalists were jailed in Saudi Arabia as of Dec. 1, the committee's report found.

Twenty-eight journalists were imprisoned in 2018 on charges of "false news," including 19 in Egypt, according to the report. Nine journalists were imprisoned on the same charges two years ago.

Beiser noted that the increase comes amid President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE's frequent attacks on the press as "fake news."

The president has regularly deployed the term to describe coverage he dislikes, and has described some outlets as "enemies of the people."

The Committee to Protect Journalists released its report two days after Time Magazine announced its Person of the Year was imprisoned and murdered journalists.

The magazine honored "The Guardians and the War on Truth," specifically highlighting the cases of murdered journalists Jamal Khashoggi and staff members of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland, as well as jailed journalists Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.