CPJ/Rebecca Redelmeier

China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt are world's worst jailers of journalists

December 13, 2019 9:30 AM 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.

This week, CPJ released its 2019 prison census, finding that China, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are the worst jailers of journalists worldwide. For the fourth consecutive year, at least 250 journalists are imprisoned globally. While the majority face anti-state charges, the number charged with “false news” rose to 30 compared with 28 last year. See more findings in this video.

The report is available in nine languages: English, Français, Español, Portuguȇs, فارسی, Русский, Türkçe, العربية, 中文.

CPJ will release two additional reports this month: “One Country, One Censor,” on Chinese influence in Hong Kong and Taiwan, will be published Monday December 16, and our annual report on journalists killed in relation to their work will be published on Wednesday, December 18.

CPJ’s prison census was accompanied by several blog posts:

Global press freedom updates:

  • US-Nigerian Sahara Reporters website says assets frozen amid surveillance, censorship
  • One journalist killed, another missing amid protests in Iraq
  • Syrian Kurdish journalist Himbervan Kousa arrested at Kuala Lumpur airport
  • Duterte threatens to shut down Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN
  • Palestinian journalist Sameh al-Titi arrested by Israeli authorities, held without charge


Tran Thi Nga, a freelance reporter in Vietnam, is featured in #FreeThePress campaign. She was arrested in January 2017 and sentenced to nine years in prison and five years' probation on charges of "spreading propaganda against the state.” (Danlambao)

In tandem with CPJ’s prison census, CPJ has been highlighting imprisoned journalists around the world through the #FreeThePress campaign. You can get involved by following and sharing stories from the @censoredpress Instagram account.

CPJ has also been collecting messages of support for Azimjon Askarov, a 2012 International Press Freedom Awardee who has spent nine years behind bars in Kyrgyzstan in connection to his reporting on human rights. Send him a digital message, and CPJ will deliver it to Askarov in prison.

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