A record 488 media professionals are being held in jail this year, reports the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in its annual report, which also notes the decline in the killing of low-level journalists. 46).
“Never since the creation of the RSF’s annual report in 1995 has it been so high on imprisoned journalists,” the non-governmental organization for the defense of the press said in a press release accompanying its report.
Their alarming increase of 20% in one year is due “primarily to three countries”, Myanmar, Belarus and China, where the 2020 national security law imposed on Hong Kong has caused a massive increase in prisons. journalists, RSF points out.
Also “never before has the RSF recorded such a large number of women” among the jailed journalists, who have now reached 60, in other words increased by a third compared to 2020.
Although men continue to make up the vast majority of imprisoned journalists worldwide (87.7%), more women (17) have been driven behind bars in Belarus than their male counterparts (15).
In Myanmar, where the military seized power in a February 1 coup, the number of journalists behind bars rose to 53, up from just two a year ago.
The five countries where most journalists were imprisoned on December 1 are China (127), Myanmar (53), Vietnam (43), Belarus (32) and Saudi Arabia (31).
However, the number of journalists and media professionals killed – 46 people – is the lowest that has been recorded in twenty years, the organization notes.
“This downward trend, which has accelerated since 2016, is mainly explained by the development of regional conflicts (Syria, Iraq and Yemen) and the stabilization of the fronts after 2012 and 2016, two particularly deadly years,” RSF analyzes. .
Most of the deaths were targeted killings: “65% of the victims were deliberately targeted and killed,” the NGO said.
Mexico and Afghanistan remained for another year the two most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with 7 and 6 being killed respectively. In this macabre list, the third place is shared by Yemen and India, with 4 murders of journalists each.
Reporters Without Borders also counts at least 65 journalists and media associates being held hostage internationally, two more than last year.
“All of them are being held hostage in three Middle Eastern countries: Syria (44 journalists), Iraq (11) and Yemen (9)”, with the sole exception of French journalist Olivier Diboua, who has been detained since April. in Mali, RSF clarifies.