China Leads World in Imprisoning Journalists

A new report by the Committe to Protect Journalists says that China leads the world in imprisoning journalists. China accounted for 22 of the 87 journalists imprisoned worldwide.

The CPJ report noted that China seems to have hardened its stance against journalists over the past couple years, likely in response to the chaos created by rapid Internet adoption.

In previous years, the Chinese government made concessions to international public opinion by carefully stage-managing the release of prominent dissidents, including journalists, at critical moments. Authorities took a harder line in 2000, when not a single journalist was released.

Other countries which had jailed journalists as of December 2000 were,

Country

Imprisoned
Journalists

Algeria
2
Burma
8
Central African Republic
1
China
22
Comoros
1
Cuba
3
Democratic Republic of Congo
4
Egypt
1
Ethiopia
7
Iran
6
Kuwait
2
Nepal
1
Niger
1
Syria
1
Tunisia
2
Turkey
14
Uzbekistan
3
Vietnam
2

The number of imprisoned journalists has fallen dramatically since 1998, when 118 journalists were imprisoned, but these numbers do underestimate the problem since they only count journalists who were still in prison at the end of 2000. A much larger number of journalists were imprisoned for at least part of 2000 but released before the end of the year.

Of course arrest isn’t the only way of intimidating journalists. Last year 24 journalists were killed around the world either in the act of reporting on a story or in retaliation because of their reporting or affiliation with a news organization. The murder of journalists breaks down like this,

Country

Journalists
Killed

Bangladesh
2
Brazil
1
Colombia
3
Guatemala
1
Haiti
1
India
1
Mozambique
1
Pakistan
1
Philippines
2
Russia
3
Sierra Leone
3
Somalia
1
Spain
1
Sri Lanka
1
Ukraine
1
Uruguay
1

Additionally another 20 journalists were murdered worldwide, but the motive for those murders remains unclear.

Source:

Attack on the Press in 2000. Committee to Protect Journalists, 2000.

China: ‘Leading jailer’ of journalists. The BBC, March 19, 2001.