20 percent increase: the number of journalists in prison at a record high

20 percent increase
Number of journalists imprisoned at a record high

With around 488 prison stays, the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide has reached a new high. This is primarily the work of three dictatorial regimes, says Reporters Without Borders – they still get too little headwind.

The number of imprisoned media workers rose by more than 20 percent to a new high in 2021 compared to the previous year. As of December 1, at least 488 journalists worldwide were in prison for their work, including 60 women. This emerges from the annual report submitted by the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Almost half of the cases affect China, Myanmar and Belarus. “The extremely high number of arbitrarily imprisoned journalists is primarily the work of three dictatorial regimes,” emphasized RSF board spokeswoman Katja Gloger. The number reflects how unscrupulous authoritarian rulers worldwide behaved. The sudden increase is also the result of new geopolitical power relations, in which these regimes would not get enough headwind.

The number of journalists arbitrarily detained has never been higher since Reporters Without Borders first published its annual balance sheet in 1995, the organization said. At the same time, however, the number of media workers killed because of their work, at 46, is lower than it has been in almost 20 years, the report says. This can be explained by the decreasing intensity of the conflicts and wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The most dangerous countries are again Mexico with seven and Afghanistan with six journalists killed. According to the organization, 65 percent of the media workers killed in 2021 were deliberately murdered.

Worldwide, at least 65 media workers are currently considered kidnapped, two more than last year. Almost all cases affect the same countries as last year, namely Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The only exception is the French journalist Olivier Dubois, kidnapped in Mali, who was kidnapped in April.

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