More than 251 journalists were jailed globally in 2018 according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia imprisoned more journalists than in 2017, and Turkey remained the world’s most prolific journalist jailer.
While Turkey, under Erdoğan, remained the world’s worst jailer of journalists, fresh waves of repression coming out of China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia have helped sustain the global crackdown on press freedom, ensuring suppression of free speech was alive and well in 2018.
Turkey, China, and Egypt were responsible for more than half of all journalists jailed globally. The majority of those imprisoned, 70 percent, face anti-state charges.
47 journalists have been imprisoned in China in the last year, due to increased persecution of the Uighur minority in western China, where Beijing is undertaking mass surveillance and detention of up to a million people.
In Egypt, at least 25 journalists are in prison as the el-Sisi regime has increasingly arrested journalists and added them into running mass trials.
Saudi Arabia increased its repression of journalists in addition to the Khashoggi murder, with at least 16 journalists behind bars, including four female journalists who wrote about women’s rights in the kingdom.
Turkey continues to jail more journalists than any other country on the planet. At least 68 journalists are jailed in Turkey, a number actually slightly lower than previous years. Every journalist locked up in Turkey faces anti-state charges.
Rounding out the top five is Eritrea, with 16 journalists behind bars, it has more journalists in prison than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa; Cameroon is next with seven. Most of the journalists imprisoned have been in custody since the independent media was shut down in 2001, and it is unknown whether they are all alive.
On a positive note in Uzbekistan, no journalists were found to be in jail for the first time in two decades.