Record 488 journalists imprisoned, 46 killed in 2021: Reporters Without Borders

PARIS (AFP) – There are currently 488 media professionals imprisoned around the world, the highest number since Reporters Without Borders (RSF) began counting more than 25 years ago, the NGO announced on Thursday (Dec 16).

By contrast, the number killed this year – 46 – was the lowest since it began issuing annual tallies, due to the relative stabilisation of conflicts in the Middle East.

“The number of journalists detained in connection with their work has never been this high since RSF began publishing its annual round-up in 1995,” the NGO, which battles for freedom of the press, said in a statement.

The number has risen by some 20 per cent over the past year thanks largely to crackdowns on the media in Myanmar, Belarus and Hong Kong.

RSF said it had also never seen so many female journalists detained, with the overall number of 60 representing a third more than 2020.

China leads the way for imprisoned journalists with 127, thanks in large part to the national security law it imposed on Hong Kong, undermining many of its long-standing democratic freedoms.

Myanmar was second with 53, followed by Vietnam (43), Belarus (32) and Saudi Arabia (31).

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