RSF says 488 journalists are in prisons around the world
According to Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF), a record number of journalists – 488, including 60 women – are currently detained worldwide, while another 65 are being held hostage.
Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) released its annual round-up and said a record number of journalists – 488, including 60 women – are currently detained worldwide, while another 65 are being held hostage. Meanwhile, the number of journalists killed in 2021 – 46 – is at its lowest in 20 years.
The number of detained journalists this year is 20% more than at the same time last year. This exceptional surge in arbitrary detention is due, according to RSF, to three countries – Myanmar, where the military retook power in a coup on 1 February 2021, Belarus, which has seen a major crackdown since Alexander Lukashenko’s disputed reelection in August 2020, and Xi Jinping’s China, which is tightening its grip on Hong Kong, the special administrative region once seen as a regional model of respect for press freedom.
RSF has also never previously registered so many female journalists in prison, with a total of 60 currently detained in connection with their work – a third (33%) more than at this time last year. China, the world’s biggest jailer of journalists for the fifth year running, is also the biggest jailer of female journalists, with 19 currently detained.
RSF recorded a fall in the number of journalists killed in connection with their work – 46 from 1 January to 1 December 2021. You have to go back to 2003 to find another year with fewer than 50 journalists killed. This year’s fall is mostly due to a decline in the intensity of conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, said RSF, underlining that, despite this remarkable fall, an average of nearly one journalist a week is still being killed in connection with their work. And RSF has established that 65% of the journalists killed in 2021 were deliberately targeted and eliminated. Mexico and Afghanistan are again the two deadliest countries, with seven journalists killed in Mexico and six in Afghanistan.