World: According to Reporters Without Borders, there are presently 488 media journalists imprisoned around the world, the greatest number since the NGO began counting over 25 years ago.
Due to the relative stability of Middle Eastern wars, the number of people slain this year — 46 — was the lowest since the organisation began keeping track.
“Since RSF began publishing its annual round-up in 1995, the number of journalists jailed in connection with their job has never been this high,” the NGO, which fights for press freedom, said in a statement.
The number has increased by 20% in the last year, mainly owing to media crackdowns in Myanmar, Belarus, and Hong Kong.
RSF also stated that it had never seen so many female journalists jailed, with the total number of 60 being a third higher than the year 2020.
With 127 imprisoned journalists, China tops the pack, thanks in part to the national security measure it imposed on Hong Kong, which curtailed many of the city’s long-standing democratic liberties.
‘Tribunal of the People’
Myanmar came in second place with 53 points, followed by Vietnam (43), Belarus (32) and Saudi Arabia (32). (31).
The decrease in deaths since a peak in 2016 reflects shifting dynamics in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, where a reduction in combat has attracted fewer journalists.
According to the report, the majority of the 46 assassinations were premeditated: “65 percent were purposefully targeted and eliminated,” according to the report.
With seven and six journalist killings, respectively, Mexico and Afghanistan were the most deadly countries, followed by Yemen and India with four each.
RSF also reported the kidnapping of 65 journalists and colleagues around the world.
Except for French journalist Olivier Dubois, who has been held in Mali since April, they are all in the Middle East: Syria (44), Iraq (11) and Yemen (9)
Last month, a “people’s tribunal” in The Hague was established to seek justice for slain journalists and to safeguard media freedoms in the face of rising authoritarianism and populism.
The six-month hearings, organised by a consortium of press freedom organisations, will focus on the unresolved cases of three journalists murdered in Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Syria.
While the tribunal does not have the legal authority to prosecute anyone, it uses “grassroots justice” to raise awareness, lobby governments, and gather evidence.
Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and Reporters Without Borders organised the trial.