Ethiopia came 6th from the top 10 countries imprisoning journalists.


New York, December 11, 2012—The number of journalists imprisoned worldwide reached a record high this year, a trend driven primarily by terrorism and other anti-state charges levied against critical reporters and editors, according to a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“We are living in an age when anti-state charges and ‘terrorist’ labels have become the preferred means that governments use to intimidate, detain, and imprison journalists,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Criminalizing probing coverage of inconvenient topics violates not only international law, but impedes the right of people around the world to gather, disseminate, and receive independent information.”

The three leading jailers of journalists were Turkey (49), Iran (45), and China (32), where imprisonments followed sweeping crackdowns on criticism and dissent, making use of anti-state charges in retaliation for critical coverage. This pattern is present in most of the countries in the census. In Turkey, the world’s worst jailer, authorities held dozens of Kurdish reporters and editors on terror-related charges and other journalists for allegedly plotting against the government. Following an extensive case-by-case review in 2012, CPJ confirmed journalism-related reasons in numerous cases previously unlisted by the organization, thus significantly raising the country’s total.

CPJ’s 2012 census of imprisoned journalists identified 232 writers, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of 53 from 2011 and the highest since the organization began the survey in 1990. The 2012 figure surpasses the previous record of 185 journalists imprisoned in 1996, underlining a disturbing trend of conflating coverage of opposition groups or sensitive topics with terrorism, evident since 2001.

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