Record number of journalists jailed worldwide: report

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Washington: The number of journalists jailed worldwide hit a record high in 2012, with 232 reporters, photographers and editors imprisoned in 27 countries at the start of this month.

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This has been revealed in a report released Tuesday by the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The committee found widespread use of anti-state charges such as terrorism, treason and subversion were the most common allegations brought against journalists worldwide.

The majority of the 232 imprisoned journalists are being held by their own governments, and three foreign journalists were imprisoned worldwide, it said.

Turkey is the worst offender with 49 journalists behind bars, CPJ said, adding dozens of Kurdish reporters and editors have been jailed on terror-related charges and other journalists “on charges of involvement in anti-government plots”.

The committee said “broadly worded anti-terror and penal code statues have allowed Turkish authorities to conflate the coverage of banned groups and the investigation of sensitive topics with outright terrorism or other anti-state activity”.

Iran came in second, with 45 jailed journalists. CPJ said the country has sustained a crackdown on journalists since the 2009 contentious presidential re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

China was third on the list with 32 journalists behind bars, according to CPJ, which said the country used anti-state charges to jail writers for expressing their political views and documenting ethnic tensions.

Eritrea, Syria, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia were also included in the top ten nations for jailing journalists.

While no journalist is being detained in Russia or the US, the report says, adding but American journalist Austin Tice is believed to be currently held in Syrian state custody.