Moscow: A record number of journalists were imprisoned in course of performing their duty in 2020 because of the restrictions on news coverage about civil unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic, an international human rights watchdog reported on Tuesday.
As of December 1, at least 274 journalists were jailed, which is the highest number since Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) began collecting data in the early 1990s. This year is the fifth in a row with at least 250 journalists imprisoned.
“It’s shocking and appalling that we are seeing a record number of journalists imprisoned in the midst of a global pandemic,” Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) Executive Director Joel Simon said.
He added that this wave of repression was a form of censorship that was disrupting the flow of information and fueling the infodemic.
Protests and political tensions became the catalysts for many arrests. China, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia top the list of the world’s worst jailers. CPJ documented more than 200 press freedom violations related to COVID-19 and launched the #FreeThePress campaign, calling on world leaders to release all jailed journalists. The human rights watchdog contributed to the early release of at least 75 jailed journalists worldwide this year