08 December 2008

Journalists Behind Bars

The Committee to Protect Journalists has just released its annual census of imprisoned journalists. The survey found 125 journalists in all behind bars as of December 1st, a decrease of two from the 2007 tally.

CPJ reports that with 28 jailed journalists, China continues to be world's worst jailer of journalists, what CPJ calls “a dishonor” it has held for 10 consecutive years. Cuba with 21 jailed journalists, Burma with 14, Eritrea with 13, and Uzbekistan with six round out the top five jailers from among the 29 nations that imprison journalists.

Of particular interest this year, according to CPJ, is that at least 56 online journalists (bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors) are jailed worldwide, a number that surpasses the number of print journalists for the first time.

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon says: “Online journalism has changed the media landscape and the way we communicate with each other. But the power and influence of this new generation of online journalists has captured the attention of repressive governments around the world, and they have accelerated their counterattack.”

The number of imprisoned online journalists has steadily increased since CPJ recorded the first jailed Internet writer in its 1997 census. Print reporters, editors, and photographers make up the next largest professional category, with 53 cases in 2008. Television and radio journalists and documentary filmmakers constitute the rest.

Capsule reports on all jailed journalists are available at CPJ’s website.

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