Number of journalists detained marks record, as number of assassinations drops to lowest level in 20 years, says RSF – Cinktank

RSF says Mexico is the country with the most murders for the third year and describes China as “the biggest prison for journalists”.

Paris:, Dec. 16 ( –

In total, 46 journalists were murdered in 2021 around the world in the course of the exercise of their profession, the lowest figure in the last 20 years, as Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reported this Thursday, which however underlined that the number of jailed reporters is an all-time high.

The organization said in the presentation of its annual report that the number of journalists arbitrarily imprisoned increased by 20% in 2021 compared to the previous year, reaching 488, including 60 women, while 65 are kidnapped and two are carried missing.

RSF underlined that “never” since the creation of the annual report in 1995 has the number of journalists retained been so high, a situation which has been attributed mainly to the situation in Burma, where a military junta was set up afterwards. the Coup d’Etat. February 1 status; Belarus, for the repression after the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko; and China, where control has reportedly been “stepped up” in Hong Kong.

Thus, he detailed that China remains for the fifth consecutive year “the largest prison for journalists in the world”, with 127 journalists detained. Behind, Burma, with 53; Vietnam, with 43; Belarus, with 32; and Saudi Arabia, with 31.

In the case of China, he argued that while the number of journalists jailed in mainland China has declined slightly, the increase in arrests in Hong Kong has contributed to a 2% increase in the number of jailed journalists nationwide. .

RSF said the Asian giant is also the country that jails the most women, including 2021 RSF Prize winner Zhang Zhan. In this sense, he underlined that to date such a high number of women journalists arrested for the exercise of their profession had never been counted and underlined that in Belarus there are more women than men. in prison, 17 out of 15, respectively, including Daria Tchoultsova and Katsiarina Andreyeva.

For her part, in Burma there are nine women incarcerated, including Ma Zuzar, who is in solitary confinement in Insein prison and who was one of the people responsible for covering the protests that erupted against the junta after the riots. from February.

Similarly, four women are imprisoned in Vietnam, including Pham Doan Trang, who received the RSF Impact Award in 2019 after being convicted of “propaganda against the state”. In Iran, journalist and activist Narges Mohamadi, who has already served eight years in prison, returned to prison in November, bringing the number of journalists detained in the country to three.

RSF also heard about the situation of journalists like the Chinese Jimmi Lai, who served 74 years in prison after being convicted of participating in “unauthorized” demonstrations; Dawit Issak, who, along with Seyoum Tsehaye and Temesgen-Gebreyesus, spent more than 20 years in prison in Eritrea; and Ali Abuluhum and Pham Chi Dung, sentenced to 15 years in prison in Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, respectively, the harshest sentences in 2021.

The organization also recalled the case of journalist Raman Protasevich, arrested in May after Belarusian authorities hijacked a passenger flight to Minsk, and of Julian Assange, who faces a sentence of up to 175. years in prison if ultimately extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom.

“These extremely high numbers of journalists arbitrarily imprisoned come under three dictatorial regimes,” explained Christophe Deloire, secretary general of RSF. “It is the reflection of the dictatorial impetus in the world, an accumulation of crises and the absence of any scruples on the part of these regimes”, he maintained.

“Perhaps they are also the result of a new geopolitical framework of power relations, in which authoritarian regimes are not under enough pressure to limit their repression,” said Deloire, according to the report published by RSF on his report. website.


On the other hand, the number of journalists killed fell below 50 for the first time since 2003, which the organization attributes to “the low intensity of armed conflicts” and to “the mobilization of organizations defending the freedom of the press, like RSF, to set up national and international protection mechanisms ”.

However, RSF stressed that this figure implies that around a journalist is murdered every week in the world for having exercised his profession and recalled that, according to his data, the murdered journalists were deliberately singled out.

In this sense, he indicated that Mexico is the country in the world where the most journalists have been murdered in the last year, with seven, followed by Afghanistan, with six. Behind, India and Yemen, with four journalists killed in each of these countries.

RSF said 30 of them, or 65%, were intentionally murdered as journalists, while the other 16 were murdered in the line of duty. Of the total, 42 were men and four were women, while 18 were killed in the conflict zone and 28 in the peace zone.

Among the journalists killed this year are the three Afghan media collaborators Shahnaz Rufi, Saadia Sadat and Mursal Vahidi, killed in two attacks claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State. The fourth woman to be killed is Rasha Abdullah al Harazi, killed in a limpet bomb attack in Aden.

The agency also pointed out that three in five journalists have been killed in countries that are not officially at war and that even the European Union (EU), considered the safest area in the world to practice journalism, has been affected.

Thus, the journalist of the Greek channel Star TV Giorgios Karaivaz, who was investigating corruption within the Police, and the Dutch journalist and witness adviser in criminal cases Peter de Vries were murdered, which represents the year the deadliest in Europe since 2015, when the attack on the editorial staff of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ took place.

Journalists killed in conflict zones include Spaniards David Beriain and Roberto Fraile, killed while making a documentary on poaching in eastern Burkina Faso, and Indian photographer Danish Siddiqui, Pulitzer Prize winner in 2018 and died in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan.

RSF recalled that Mexico is binding for the third consecutive year its position as the most dangerous country in the world for the press and deplored “the almost total impunity due to the absence of ambitious reforms” to face the situation and “The spiral of violence”. , which “never seems to be able to stop”.

On the flip side, he said ten countries had three quarters of those killed, with Mexico and Afghanistan leading the way, with 47 each. Behind is Syria, with 42; Yemen and India, with 18; Iraq, with 17; Pakistan, with 16; the Philippines, with 15; Somalia, with thirteen; and Colombia, with nine. In the rest of the countries, 77 journalists were murdered during this period.

As for the kidnapped, the figure has increased by 3% since 2020 to settle at 65 – 60 inhabitants and five foreigners -, with Syria in the lead, with 44. Behind is Iraq, with eleven; Yemen, with nine, and Mali, where Olivier Dubois was kidnapped this year.

Islamic State is the main responsible for these kidnappings, with 28, which represents more than 40% worldwide. Finally, two journalists are missing: Jorge Moltzin Centlal and Pablo Felipe Romero, both from the Mexican state of Sonora.

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Number of journalists detained marks record, as number of assassinations drops to lowest level in 20 years, says RSF – Cinktank