Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo is led handcuffed from a court in Yangon in September. He and colleague Wa Lone are serving seven-year prison sentences in Myanmar. (Reuters/Ann Wang)

251 journalists jailed worldwide; third worst year on record

December 13, 2018 4:31 PM ET

The Torch is a weekly newsletter from the Committee to Protect Journalists that brings you the latest press freedom and journalist safety news from around the world. Subscribe here.

On Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists released its annual prison census--a snapshot of the number of journalists behind bars as of December 1, 2018. For the third consecutive year, at least 251 journalists are behind bars for their work, as authoritarian regimes increasingly use imprisonment to silence dissent. Read their stories here.

Global press freedom updates

  • Militant group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham threatens to execute Syrian journalist Amjed al-Maleh
  • CPJ staff stands in solidarity with Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who have been imprisoned for one year in Myanmar simply for reporting the news. Reuters offices in New York's Times Square displayed their images on Wednesday
  • News fixer deported from Thailand to Cambodia on 'false news' accusation
  • Serbian investigative journalist targeted with arson attack
  • CPJ welcomed the news that Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas has finally been released after nearly seven months in jail
  • Read the latest Turkey Crackdown Chronicle, CPJ's weekly round-up of press freedom violations in the country
  • Israel raids Palestinian news agency, detains journalist in the West Bank


Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was among "The Guardians," a group of journalists chosen as TIME Person of the Year 2018 on Tuesday. On October 2, Khashoggi was murdered by agents of Saudi Arabia inside its Istanbul consulate, while his fiancée waited for him outside. (Moises Saman--Magnum Photos for TIME [Source photo: Alamy])

This year, TIME magazine recognizes "The Guardians and the War on Truth" as Person of the Year, including slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, imprisoned in Myanmar; Rappler editor and Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award winner Maria Ressa; and the newsroom staff at The Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Maryland, where four reporters and a sales assistant were murdered earlier this year.

The report also highlights CPJ's 2018 International Press Freedom Award honorees Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Vietnam)--known by her pen name "Mother Mushroom" or Me Nam--Luz Mely Reyes (Venezuela), Amal Habbani (Sudan), and 2016 awardee Can Dündar (Turkey).

A note for journalists

CPJ will release its annual list of killed journalists on December 19. The report will be available in eight languages. For those who wish to cover the report, embargoed copies are available upon request. Email: [email protected]

What we are reading

Do you have an Amazon Alexa-enabled device? Enable CPJ's flash briefing skill to stay up to date with the latest press freedom news from around the world.

Social Media

View All ›