Posted by News Express | 29 September 2018 | 762 times
Journalists are being jailed in unprecedented numbers across the globe, with 262 detained for their work at the end of 2017, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
"The jailing of journalists is a brutal form of censorship that is having a profound impact on the flow of information around the world," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon told a press freedom event Friday at the United Nations.
At the end of 2017, the worst offenders were Turkey, with 73 journalists jailed; China with 41; and Egypt with 20.
CPJ says that slightly more than half of all imprisoned journalists were jailed for reporting on human rights violations.
Simon said the United Nations has not been a strong enough voice on the issue because it has a culture of rarely naming and shaming its member states.
The event, organized on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly annual meeting, highlighted the cases of five reporters CPJ says have been unjustly detained. They are nationals of Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt and Myanmar.
The two most high-profile cases are of Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in Myanmar. The two men were detained in December 2017 while they were investigating the mass killing of Rohingya Muslim men and boys by Buddhist villagers in the Rakhine state village of Inn Din.
Myanmar's military launched a crackdown on the minority Rohingya in August 2017 after Rohingya militants attacked several police checkpoints and killed a dozen Myanmar police officers. In a matter of a few months, 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh. Survivors gave accounts of horrific abuses, including widespread rapes, torture, and the looting and burning of their homes. The United Nations has deemed the atrocities a "textbook case" of ethnic cleansing.
Since 2013, CPJ says, Egypt has been among the world's worst jailers of journalists, often detaining reporters on politically motivated anti-state charges.
Alaa Abdelfattah, a well-known Egyptian blogger and activist who has written about politics and human rights, is one of them. He is serving a five-year sentence on charges that he organized a protest and assaulted a police officer.
U.S. President Donald Trump refers to negative news coverage of him and his administration as "fake news," and reporters at his rallies and during his campaign reported encountering hostility from his supporters.
Reporters in the United States are facing a more dangerous work environment. CPJ says at least three journalists have been arrested this year and 34 last year. In June, five people were killed in the newsroom of an Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper.
Journalists covering white nationalism and the far-right political movement have reported receiving threats, and at least 24 journalists have been assaulted, shoved or had their equipment damaged while working.
"A free press is not an adversary, but an essential component of democracy," Ewen said. (VOA)
•Journalists take part in a protest against the recent imprisonment by Myanmar authorities of Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, outside the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 7, 2018.
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