The world witnessed a historic rise of nearly 30 per cent in the number of jailed women journalists even as a total of 533 journalists were being held for doing their job in 2022, according to the annual round-up of violence and abuses against journalists published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The RSF said that a total of 78 women journalists are behind bars till December 1, 2022. Women now account for 14.6% of imprisoned journalists, whereas women comprised less than 7% of imprisoned journalists five years ago. By comparison, the number of male journalists in prison rose by only 11.2%.
As per the index, the RPF said that China accounted for 19 women journalists detained, Iran 18, Myanmar 10 and Belarus accounted for nine jailed women journalists.
As of 1 December 2022, a total of 533 journalists were being held for doing their job, more than a quarter of whom were arrested in the course of the year, the report said.
China, where censorship and surveillance have reached extreme levels, continues to be the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, with a total of 110 currently being held.
In Myanmar – where journalism is now effectively prohibited, – 62 journalists are currently detained. In another sign of a major crackdown, the Islamic Republic of Iran, with 47 detained journalists, became the world’s third biggest jailer of media personnel just one month after the outbreak of massive protests, the RSF said.
The organisation also said that the latest increase in the number of detained journalists (up 13.4% in 2022, after a 20% rise in 2021) confirms that authoritarian regimes are becoming more and more comfortable with jailing the journalists who bother them, in most cases without even putting them on trial.
In the report, the RSF said that just over a third of the journalists who are detained have been convicted. The others (63.6%) are being detained without having been tried.
RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said “Dictatorial and authoritarian regimes are filling their prisons faster than ever by jailing journalists. This new record in the number of detained journalists confirms the pressing and urgent need to resist these unscrupulous governments and to extend our active solidarity to all those who embody the ideal of journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism.’
Pointing out that the number of journalists killed also rose, the report said that a total of 57 paid with their lives for their commitment to report the news in 2022 – an 18.8% increase compared to 2021. The war that broke out in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 is one of the reasons for this rise. Eight journalists were killed in the first six months of the war.
Meanwhile, more than 60% of journalists killed lost their lives in countries considered to be at peace in 2022. Eleven were murdered in Mexico alone – nearly 20% of the overall number of journalists killed worldwide. Mexico’s figures, along with Haiti’s (with six killed) and Brazil’s (with three killed) helped turn the Americas into the world’s most dangerous region for the media, with nearly half (47.4%) of the total number of journalists killed worldwide in 2022. The 2022 round-up also reports that at least 65 journalists and media workers are currently held hostage