CPJ: Record number of journalists in prison

The Committee to Protect Journalists stated that the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide in 2022 broke a record. The Turkish state is among the top five countries where the most journalists are imprisoned.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published its annual prison census. The CPJ has found that 363 reporters were deprived of their freedom as of December 1, 2022 – a new global high that overtakes last year’s record by 20% and marks another grim milestone in a deteriorating media landscape.

This year’s top five jailers of journalists are Iran, China, Myanmar, Turkey, and Belarus, respectively. A key driver behind authoritarian governments’ increasingly oppressive efforts to stifle the media: trying to keep the lid on broiling discontent in a world disrupted by COVID-19 and the economic fallout from Russia’s war on Ukraine, writes CPJ Editorial Director Arlene Getz.

“The record number of journalists in jail is a crisis that mirrors an erosion of democracy globally,” says CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg. “This year’s prison census brings into sharp relief the lengths governments will go to silence reporting that seeks to hold power to account. Criminalizing journalism has impacts far beyond the individual in jail: it stifles vital reporting that helps keep the public safe, informed, and empowered.” 

Throughout Europe and Central Asia, press freedom is still under attack. Authorities in Turkey (40) continue to pursue journalists, as evidenced by the report’s in-jail interview with Hatice Duman, Turkey’s longest-jailed journalist who was imprisoned in 2003. As in 2021, Belarus (26) is the fifth worst jailer of journalists in this year’s census. Russia (19) assumes eighth place with several journalists facing sentences of up to 10 years on charges of spreading “fake news.”