“Sixth consecutive year” of deterioration in press freedom, warns CPJ

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New York (AFP) – China remains the country with the most jailed journalists, while India and Mexico hold the record for murdered reporters, according to the latest report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which notes that the climate for freedom press deteriorates in the world.

In total, 24 journalists were killed in 2021, according to data from CPJ, which is still investigating other cases, particularly in Mexico, which could increase the number.

In absolute numbers, India was the most dangerous country for the profession, with four journalists killed for their work, and another who lost his life in a protest.

But Mexico can take away that sad honor if the six cases that are under investigation are confirmed and that would be added to three confirmed.

Growing intolerance and persecution against independent journalism has landed 293 informants in jail, says the organization that ranks China, which is preparing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, as the biggest jailer.

With 50 journalists behind bars, the Asian giant leads the list made up of Burma (26), Egypt (25), Vietnam (23), Belarus (19), and completed by Turkey, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran.

The organization notes that Hong Kong has entered this dubious list for the first time, with the imprisonment, among others, of the founder of Apple Daily, Jimmy Lai, who this year received the Gwen Ifill Prize for Press Freedom, awarded by CPJ .

And the number keeps increasing. Ethiopia, in the midst of a civil war, has become the country with the most detained informants in Sub-Saharan Africa after Eritrea.

“Jailing journalists for reporting is the hallmark of an authoritarian regime,” says CPJ Director Joel Simon.

“It is the sixth consecutive year that CPJ documents a record number of imprisoned journalists in the world,” which reflects, in his view, two unquestionable facts: that “governments are determined to control and direct information and that each time it does so. they do more blatantly. “

The deterioration is widespread. In Europe, Belarus, which diverted a commercial flight to detain journalist Raman Pratasevich, has 19 reporters in custody, the highest number since CPJ began collecting data in 1992.

In Latin America, Cuba has 3, Nicaragua 2 and Brazil 1, while threats to the press in the region have intensified.

At the Summit for Democracy convened by US President Joe Biden, at least seven invited countries are on CPJ’s list of violators of press freedom.

And many have a record of impunity, such as Brazil, India, Iraq and the Philippines, where the authorities continue to persecute independent journalists, such as this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa, recalls the organization.

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“Sixth consecutive year” of deterioration in press freedom, warns CPJ