The Committee to Protect Journalists, in an annual survey reveals that some 251 journalists were behind bars for doing their jobs as of 1 December.
Of those jailed, 70 percent were facing anti-state charges or stood accused of aiding groups considered by authorities to be terrorist organizations. False news charges were also on the rise, with 28 reporters held on such charges across Egypt, Cameroon, Rwanda, Morocco and China.
China had put a total of 47 journalists behind bars by December 1, at least 10 of whom were being detained without charge, according to the CPJ.
The study singled out Donald Trump for his frequent characterization of negative media coverage as “fake news”, a phrase which has been echoed by leaders of countries such as the Philippines, Turkey and Cameroon against their critics.
25 journalists were being held in Egypt, where authorities were conducting mass trials of reporters.
Saudi Arabia imprisoned 16 journalists, including four women who wrote about women’s rights in the kingdom.
With 16 journalists behind bars, Eritrea rounded out the five countries with the most journalists in prison. According to the report, Eritrea imprisoned more journalists than any country in sub-Saharan Africa.
The number of journalists imprisoned on charges of “false news” rose to 28, up from 21 last year and nine in 2016, according to the US-based nonprofit organization, which promotes press freedom.
The CPJ report showed that 98 percent of jailed journalists were locals imprisoned by their own governments.
Maikem Emmanuela Manzie