Press freedom is under assault globally, as authorities seek to silence critical reporting by jailing journalists, according to new data from the Committee to Protect Journalists.
A record 274 journalists are in jail worldwide, with China, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia leading the field as the worst offenders, the press freedom organization’s annual survey shows. It is the fifth year in a row that more than 250 were imprisoned.
The 2020 count is “the worst on record” primarily for two reasons, CPJ’s advocacy director Courtney Radsch told VOA.
“One is the reaction to the global health pandemic, which has been met by the increased use of false news charges or fake news charges against journalists and retaliation for the independent reporting. And by a crackdown related to protests,” said Radsch. “We’ve seen that journalists are often the first ones arrested and detained and targeted during those protests.”
In 2020, at least 34 journalists globally were being detained on false news charges, most in Egypt, where 22 of the 27 imprisoned there face the accusation, the data showed.