533 Journalists were thrown into Prisons around the World in 2022

World | December 14, 2022, Wednesday // 10:01
Bulgaria: 533 Journalists were thrown into Prisons around the World in 2022 @PBS

The number of journalists imprisoned around the world reached a new record of 533 in 2022, compared to 488 last year, according to a Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report published today.

According to RSF, Iran's crackdown on protests contributed to the number of journalists jailed worldwide to a record 533 in 2022.

More than half of them are detained in just five countries: China, which remains "the world's biggest persecutor of journalists" with 110, followed by Myanmar (62), Iran (47), Vietnam (39) and Belarus (31).

"Dictatorship and authoritarian regimes are filling their prisons faster than ever by putting more and more journalists in," said Christophe Deloire, RSF's secretary-general.

"This new record number of detained journalists confirms the urgent need to oppose these unscrupulous regimes and express our active solidarity with all those who embody the ideal of journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism."

Iran was the only country not on the list of countries most repressive of journalists last year, said RSF, which has published annual reports on the state of freedom of speech around the world since 1995.

The current report says Iran has jailed an "unprecedented" 34 media professionals since protests erupted in September over the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for violating the country's strict dress code.

The number of female journalists in prison is also at a record high: it has increased from 60 to 78 since 2021, largely due to the greater number of women practicing the profession.

The organization is paying particular attention to the arrested Iranian women Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi - among 15 journalists arrested during the protests - who drew attention to Amini's death and now face the potential death penalty.

This is "indicative of the Iranian authorities' desire to systematically silence women," RSF said.

The NGO presented its courage award to one of them - Narges Mohammadi, who has been imprisoned many times over the past decade.

Three-quarters of jailed journalists are concentrated in Asia and the Middle East, RSF said, while noting a sharp increase in media repression in Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.

The number of journalists killed also rose - to 57 - mainly because of the war in Ukraine, compared to "historic lows" of 48 and 50 in the past two years.

Eight journalists were killed while covering the war, five of them from non-combatant countries.

RSF said that almost 80% of media professionals killed worldwide in 2022 were "deliberately targeted because of their work or events they covered, such as organized crime and corruption".

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