According to the 2021 balance sheet published by Reporters Without Borders, 60 of the journalists held in prison are women. In addition, there is a 20 percent increase in the number of journalists arrested compared to 2020.
According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which published its annual press freedom balance sheet as 2021 ends, 488 journalists are imprisoned, 65 journalists are held hostage, 2 journalists are missing and 46 journalists have been killed because of their news or their profession.
There is a 20 percent increase in the number of detained journalists compared to 2020, and 60 of the journalists in prison are women.
RSF, which has been announcing its annual balance sheet since 1995, noted in its report that the number of imprisoned journalists has never been higher, and cited the attitude of China, Myanmar and Belarus towards journalists as the reason:
The RSF states the situation in these three countries, “Myanmar, where the army came back to power in a coup on February 1, 2021, and Belarus and China, which started to see great pressure after Alexander Lukashenko’s controversial re-election in August 2020, saw Xi Jinping’s once- tightening control in Hong Kong, which is seen as a regional model for respect for freedom of the press…” he summarized.
RSF gave the number of detained journalists as 127 for China, 53 for Myanmar, 43 for Vietnam, 32 for Belarus and 31 for Saudi Arabia.
RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire commented on the journalists imprisoned in China, Myanmar and Belarus, “The extremely high number of arbitrarily detained journalists in these three countries is the work of dictatorial regimes” and said the data reflect the brutality of authoritarian rulers.
33% Increase in Arrests of Women Journalists
RSF emphasized the detention of women journalists in its report. Stating that 60 of the 488 journalists imprisoned in 2021 were women, RSF stated that this was a 33 percent increase (in terms of female journalists) compared to the previous year.
“The country that has imprisoned the most journalists in the world for five years, China is also the largest prison for female journalists, with 19 imprisoned,” he wrote.
Among the women journalists imprisoned in China is Zhang Zhan, winner of the 2021 RSF Freedom of the Press award.
In addition, Belarus currently has more female journalists (17) in prison than men (15). Among them are Daria Chultsova and Katsiaryna Andreyeva, who work for the Polish independent TV channel Belsat. The two names were sentenced to two years in prison for broadcasting the protests in the country live.
9 of the 53 journalists arrested in Myanmar are women.
Most Dangerous Country Mexico and Afghanistan
RSF pointed to the murdered journalists as another highlight in this year’s balance sheet.
RSF, which included the information that 46 journalists were killed between January 1 and December 1, 2021, emphasized the low data.
“You have to go back to 2003 to find another year when the number of journalists killed was less than 50,” he said.
He noted that this year’s decline was mostly due to a decrease in the intensity of conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and international campaigns to protect journalists.
But he stressed that despite ‘this significant decline’, an average of one journalist per week continues to be killed in connection with their work.
RSF also pointed out that 65 percent of journalists killed in 2021 were deliberately targeted and murdered.
Mexico and Afghanistan were the most dangerous countries for journalists. This year, 7 journalists were killed in Mexico and 6 in Afghanistan. In Yemen and India, 4 journalists were killed each.
Translator: Mehmet Akif Coşkun
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