In 2019, a total of 250 journalists were locked up in prison. China and Turkey, in particular, have taken severe action against critical reporters. This is shown by figures published by the New York-based NGO CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists).
China has put most journalists behind bars (48) but is closely followed by Turkey (47). Also, countries such as Saudi Arabia (26), Egypt (26), Eritrea (16), Vietnam (12) and Iran (11) are also very repressive. Most imprisoned journalists are suspected of being “state enemies” or spreading false information.
In Turkey, the number of imprisoned journalists has decreased compared to 2018 (at that time: 68), but according to CPJ, this definitely does not indicate better freedom of the press in that country. The decrease is mainly attributed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to curb independent and critical journalism.
More than a hundred media companies have been closed down by the government, and journalists are being prosecuted for “propaganda for terrorism”. As a result, many journalists have lost their jobs or have been intimidated, says the NGO.
The number of imprisoned journalists worldwide is slightly lower than in 2018 (255), although according to the CPJ statistics, it is still the fifth-highest figure since the early 1990s.