102 Journalists Imprisoned in China in 2021, International Group Says

According to a report from The International Federation of Journalists, imprisonments of journalists were "on the rise," as 365 journalists are behind bars across the world, compared to 235 last year.

"The world needs to wake up to the growing violations of journalists' rights and media freedoms across the globe," Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary said.

The report released on Thursday, one day before the United Nations Human Rights Day, said that nine journalists have been killed in Afghanistan and 102 have been imprisoned in China.

Bellanger said the imprisonments and murders not only affect the loved ones but society as a whole, as the world is in need of accurate information from good journalists.

"They also point to the violation of the people's fundamental right to access accurate, objective and fair information so that they can make properly informed choices about public affairs," Bellanger said.

Journalist Imprisonments and murders are not just occurring in China and Afghanistan but in many other countries, the group said.

In addition to China's imprisonment numbers, Turkey, Belarus, Eritrea, Egypt, and Vietnam all also have journalists behind bars. Turkey currently has 34 journalists behind bars, Belarus and Eritrea have 29 combined, Egypt holds 27 and Vietnam has 21.

Russia and the Phillippines also add to the violations, as Russia currently holds 12 journalists in jail, and in the Philippines, three reporters were killed.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov
According to a report from The International Federation of Journalists, imprisonments of journalists were “on the rise,” as 365 journalists are behind bars across the world. Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov from Russia works on his speech at his room in The Grand Hotel in Oslo, Norway Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 ahead of a press conference. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press

The IFJ said that the rise of detentions in China was linked to the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan, the further arrests of Uyghur journalists reporting on the treatment of the Muslim minority in western China. Many have called it genocide. It said that coverage of the demonstrations in Hong Kong also led to further arrests.

With three weeks left in the year, overall deaths in the line of duty were set to go down this year, with 45 so far, compared to 65 overall last year. With Afghanistan topping the list with nine journalists killed, Mexico came close behind with eight, all of them murders. India had four and Pakistan three.

The Brussels-based IFJ represents 600,000 media professionals from 187 trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries.

The group also highlighted a "rare positive development," which was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to two journalists. Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia won for their fight for freedom of expression in countries where reporters have faced persistent attacks, harassment and even murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.