The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says at least 293 journalists in various counties are in jail because of their job. Clearly, the year has not been ideal for press freedom defenders as a whole.
Conducting their annual prison census, CPJ saw an uptick in imprisoned journalists from last year’s 280. For the third year in a row, China was touted as the “world’s worst jailer of journalists.”
Myanmar took the second spot with 26 journalists imprisoned. This is a result of their media crackdown after the military coup last Feb. 1, which also brought the democratically elected government down.
The rest of the top 10 is as follows:
Egypt – 25 imprisoned journalists
Vietnam – 23 imprisoned journalists
Belarus – 19 imprisoned journalists
Turkey – 18 imprisoned journalists
Eritrea – 16 imprisoned journalists
Russa – 14 imprisoned journalists
Saudi Arabia – 14 imprisoned journalists
Iran – 11 imprisoned journalists
Amongst the 37 identified countries is the Philippines, which has at least one journalist in jail this year alone. Eastern Vista news website and Tacloban City radio news anchor Franciemae Cumpio has been imprisoned since February 2020 on charges of alleged illegal possession of firearms.
This is on the heels of Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, CEO of news outlet Rappler – which has been under attack for being a staunch critic of the Duterte administration – winning the Nobel Peace Prize with Dmitry Muratov of Russia. She had initially been barred by the national government from flying to Norway to receive her award.
Ressa is the first Filipino to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. At the moment, she has multiple active cases in the Philippines due to President Rodrigo Duterte wanting to stifle criticism and silence the press.
Photo: Civil Rights Litigation Group