Published: Fri, December 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

China imprisoned more journalists in 2019 than any other country

China imprisoned more journalists in 2019 than any other country

"A crackdown in Xinjiang province - where a million members of Muslim ethnic groups have been sent to internment camps - led to the arrests of dozens of journalists, including some apparently jailed for journalistic activity years earlier", the report said.

At least 250 journalists were imprisoned in relation to their work a year ago, with China and Turkey topping the list of the world's leading jailers, according to an annual survey complied by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

According to the report, there was a steady increase in the number of journalists who were detained during the governance of President Xi Jinping who has established his political control over the country and imposed strict rules for the media.

At least 250 journalists were imprisoned worldwide this year, according to the report, which the committee compiles annually.

Protests in the Middle East also led to a rise in the number of journalists being locked up in that region, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

In total, according to CPJ, there were 250 imprisoned journalists worldwide as of December 1, 2019, but the committee noted that minor adjustments could change the final number of detainees. "After China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, the worst jailers are Eritrea, Vietnam, and Iran", it said.

While the majority of journalists imprisoned in different parts of the world face anti-state charges, in line with recent years, the number charged with "false news" rose to 30 compared with 28 last year.

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More than half of journalists imprisoned in Russian Federation have been arrested in Russia-occupied Crimea, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said in a report.

"No one is above the law", said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a press briefing, before advising reporters to consider what "illegal things" the 48 jailed journalists did. The report further read that, "At least 47 journalists were jailed in China at the time of CPJ's 2018 prison census".

Earlier this year, Russian Federation and Singapore both introduced controversial anti-fake news laws.

The growing number of arrests and documented abuse, say CPJ researchers, reflect a brutal crackdown on dissent under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom USA and United Nations officials blame for the October 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Istanbul.

A Turkish police officer walks past a picture of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi prior to a ceremony, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, marking the one-year anniversary of his death, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.

Journalists were most likely to be imprisoned if they reported on politics, human rights and corruption. In Egypt, a large number of journalists are held behind bars on charges of spreading "fake news".

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