Record number of journalists jailed globally in 2020

Record number of journalists jailed globally in 2020
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A record number of journalists were jailed around the world in 2020 due to coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and reporting on civil unrest.

At least 274 journalists were jailed globally as of Dec. 1, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual census.

The number is the highest since CPJ began tracking the data in the early 1990s, and barely exceeds previous record of 272 set in 2016. It's also the fifth year that at least 250 reporters were jailed globally.

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CPJ’s analysis found that China was the worst jailer for the second year in a row, as 47 are currently in jail. Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were also the worst jailers.

Multiple journalists were arrested in China for its coverage of the coronavirus pandemic that contradicted Beijing’s narrative.

Michael Pack, the head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, said in a statement that China will “do whatever it takes to stop appalling domestic truths from reaching the Chinese people and the rest of the world.”

CPJ found that two-thirds of jailed journalists are charged with crimes anti-state crimes like terrorists or memberships in banned groups, and no charges have been disclosed in 19 percent of cases.

In addition, nearly all the reporters were locals covering their own country. Thirty-six of the journalists were women.

The analysis comes one day after the the Freedom of the Press foundation reported a 1,200 percent increase in arrests of journalists in the U.S. this year as reporters sought to cover protests for racial justice.

No journalists in the U.S. were jailed at the time of its census, but 110 were arrested or criminally charged, and around 300 were assaulted, and at least 12 are facing criminal charges.