New York, Dec 9 (EFE).- The Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday the number of journalists imprisoned for their work worldwide reached a new record in 2021, with China the top jailer for the third year in a row.
In its annual census, the committee said 293 journalists are imprisoned globally, 50 of them in China, with Hong Kong being included for the first time, with people such as tycoon Jimmy Lai, as a result of the law of national security implemented in that territory.
Myanmar, which was not on the list a year ago, has been catapulted to second place after the February military coup and the persecution of independent media, with 26 people in custody identified as journalists, although the situation “is worse than what the total suggests,” the committee said.
Other major jailers of journalists are Egypt (25), Vietnam (23), Belarus (19), Turkey (18); Eritrea (16), Saudi Arabia (14), Russia (14), Iran (11) and Ethiopia (9).
the committee highlighted the case in Belarus, with its highest number of jailed journalists since data collection began in 1992, and cited the “extreme measures” of Belarussian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko to arrest journalist Raman Pratasevich.
Also worrying is the case of Ethiopia, which suffers the “biggest setback” for press freedom in sub-Saharan Africa with nine journalists in custody this year, amid civil war between government forces and the popular liberation front in Tigray region.
In Latin America there are six journalists imprisoned in total – three in Cuba, two in Nicaragua and one in Brazil – representing a “relatively low” number, despite which the organization warned of “a disturbing decline in press freedom in the region.”
The committee said the total number of those jailed has not dropped below 250 in the past six years, reflecting a “growing intolerance of independent reporting” and a greater tendency for autocratic leaders to “ignore due process and skip international standards. to stay in power.”
Furthermore, with global concern over Covid-19 and climate change, “repressive governments are clearly aware public outrage over human rights abuses is dampened and democratic governments have less appetite for political or economic retaliation,” the committee said.
There were no jailed journalists in North America, although the US Press Freedom Tracker collected 56 arrests of reporters in the US this year, 86 percent in protests, and two in Canada for the same reason.
Around the world, 24 reporters have been killed for their work this year and another 18 have died in circumstances “too opaque to determine whether they were the targets” of crime.
India is the country with the most journalists killed in retaliation for their work, with four, followed by Mexico, with three. EFE