According to the Committee to Protect Journalists(CPJ), a record number of journalists were imprisoned during 2020, as governments cracked down on coverage of the coronavirus pandemic or tried to suppress reporting of civil unrest
- As of December 1 at least 274 journalists were in jail, the most since the New York-based group began collecting data in the early 1990s
- The CPJ report blamed a lack of global leadership on democratic values, and in particular attacks on the media by U.S. President Donald Trump, which it said gave cover to authoritarians to crackdown on journalists in their own countries.
- As per the report, Globally, 34 journalists were jailed for “false news” in 2020, compared with 31 last year
- CPJ in its report says that while no journalists were in prison in the United States as of Dec. 1, 110 were arrested or charged in 2020, many while covering demonstrations against police violence
- According CPJ report, countries where the number of jailed journalists rose significantly include Belarus, where the re-election of its long time president sparked mass protests, and Ethiopia, where political unrest has led to armed conflict.
What were the causes of the arrest?
- Protests and political tensions were the cause of many arrests, with the most made in China, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia
- During COVID-19 outbreak, authoritarian leaders tried to control reporting by arresting journalists
- The report found that two-thirds of journalists in jail were charged with anti-state crimes such as terrorism or membership of banned groups, while no charges were disclosed in nearly 20% of cases.
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