Friday, December 16, 2011

Increasing number of journalists detained worldwide

The number of journalists imprisoned has considerably increased in the last years, especially in the Middle East and North Africa countries. According to Committee to Protect Journalist, 179 writers, editors and photojournalists are detained across the world, most of them free lance, but strong differences exist between different areas of the world. The CPJ is an independent nonprofit organization with the aim to protect press freedom worldwide, and it released an annual census and continuous reports about violations of journalist rights. While no cases were reported in Europe and the Americas, the situation in Central Asia is also improving, with only eight cases of detention in the whole region. According to the CPJ 2011 annual report, the situation of North Africa and Middle East is seen with great concern, especially after the last political events. Iran has the worst record with 42 journalists detained, and a harsh overall situation for press freedom. Since the June 2009 elections, Iranian authorities have engaged in increasing attacks against journalists, independent newspapers and free bloggers: in November, at least 5 cases have been reported. In very harsh prison conditions, imprisoned journalists can be sentenced to thousand dollars in sanctions and years in jail. Several cases have been reported also in Syria (8) and Turkey (8). Beyond the Middle East, China, Eritrea and Burma have the worst records, and several cases interested also Vietnam, Ethiopia and Israel. In general, journalists are mistreated during detention, which is in most cases without any specific charge; at least six journalists have died in jail. In China, special repression is directed against press covering ethnic and religious minorities, as the Tibetan and Uighur groups. Many editors and writes in Asia and Africa are detained for their investigations against the corruption of their political system. Good news is coming from Cuba, where the last detainees have been released in April of this year. To conclude, CPJ report is stressing the increase in numbers, and the concern that the situation will hardly improve in the following months.

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