In 2020, all-time record number of journalists is in prison, considering the attempts of the governments of different countries to restrict the covering of coronavirus pandemic or mass protests as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported.
“It’s shocking and appalling that we are seeing a record number of journalists imprisoned in the midst of a global pandemic,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon stated.
As of December 1, at least 274 journalists are in jail; while in 2019, 250 people were imprisoned.
According to CPJ, the reasons for many arrests of mass media representatives are protests and political tension. The majority of the cases of imprisonment of journalists are observed in China, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the autocratic leaders tried to establish control over the way of news coverage, arresting the journalists.
At least two journalists died from the disease in the custody.
In 2020, 34 journalists in the world were imprisoned for fake news in comparison with 31 journalists in 2019.
According to CPJ, as of December 1, there are no journalists in the American jails. However, 110 people were arrested or accused in 2020. Many of them covered the protests against violence by police. The countries with a significant increase of jailed journalists include Belarus, where the re-election of the current president caused mass protests, and Ethiopia, where political unrest led to the armed conflict.
The report stated that two-thirds of journalists in jails were accused of anti-state crimes, such as terrorism or membership in banned groups; while 20% of cases do not include the reason for accusations.
As we reported, in 2020, 42 murders of mass media representatives were registered in the world. The majority of the journalists were killed in Mexico.