On Thursday, a by the Committee to Protect Journalists revealed that according to the CPJ’s 2021 prison census, a record 293 journalists were jailed for their work globally this year. The number for 2020 was 280.
According to the methodology of the report, the census “accounts only for journalists in government custody and does not include those who have disappeared or are held captive by non-state actors”.
The report stated that so far, at least 24 journalists were killed for their coverage and 18 others died in “circumstances too murky to determine whether they were specific targets”. It claimed China is the “worst jailer of journalists” for the third year in a row, followed by Myanmar which saw a media crackdown after the military coup in February.
Key findings in the report indicate that India “has the highest number of journalists – four – confirmed to have been murdered in retaliation for their work.” A on the number of journalists killed in India lists Avinash Jha, Chennakeshavalu, Manish Kumar Singh, and Sulabh Srivastava as being “murdered”, with journalist Raman Kashyap cited as being killed while on a “dangerous assignment”.
Apart from this, six journalists in India were detained on “anti state” charges; Aasif Sultan, Siddique Kappan, Anand Teltumbe, Gautam Navlakha, Manan Dar and Rajeev Sharma. The report lists journalist Tanveer Warsi as detained under “retaliatory” charges.
In August, the CPJ had released which listed a dozen countries that fare the worst when it comes to prosecuting killers of journalists. India was ranked at 12 for the second consecutive year.
Commenting on the reason for this increase the report said that a stark trend that has been observed is the growing intolerance for independent reporting. The report also said that this was the sixth consecutive year in which the census had recorded at least 250 journalists who have been incarcerated. “Emboldened autocrats are increasingly ignoring due process and flouting international norms to keep themselves in power”, the report said in relation to the finding.