According to the annual census by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released earlier this week, 262 journalists find themselves behind bars around the world in relation to their work, an increase from 259 in 2016.
For the second consecutive year, more than half of those jailed for their work are in Turkey, China, and Egypt. Eritrea, Azerbaijan and Vietnam also have high numbers of imprisoned journalists.
The CPJ suggests that the climbing figures reflect a serious failure by the international community to address a global crisis in freedom of the press.
According to the CPJ, nearly three quarters of the journalists in the report were jailed on anti-state charges, many under broad and vague terror laws, while a record 21 were imprisoned on charges of "false news".
The prison census accounts only for journalists in government custody and does not include those who have disappeared or are held captive by non-state groups. Many of these cases are classified as “missing” or “abducted.”
Furthermore, the CPJ’s list is an indication of those incarcerated at 12.01am on 1 December 2017. It does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year; accounts of those cases can be found at https://cpj.org.
Of the total number of journalists confirmed by the CPJ to be incarcerated, freelancers account for 75 cases - or 29%.
The Southern African Freelancers' Association (SAFREA) joins the CPJ in a call for the release of all unjustly jailed journalists around the globe. SAFREA supports the democratic principle that journalists should not be imprisoned for doing their jobs.
More details about the report can be found here.