China is least journalist friendly country in the world

China is least journalist friendly country in the world”

China surpassed Turkey to become the biggest jailer of journalists in the world this year, according to a press watchdog group, as Chinese President Xi Jinping steps up efforts to control the media.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has listed Turkey as the second worst jailer of journalists in its annual report for the year 2019. The group's database shows seven of those were arrested this year, including Australian writer Yang Hengjun, and that China has "tightened its iron grip on the press".

"Dozens of journalists not now jailed in Turkey are still facing trial or appeal and could yet be sentenced to prison, while others have been sentenced in absentia and face arrest if they return to the country", the group said.

It noted "authoritarianism, instability, and protests" this year saw an increase in the number of journalists imprisoned in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both with 26; Eritrea with 16; Vietnam, with 12; and Iran with 11 were the next-most oppressive countries for journalists, the report said.

While the majority of journalists imprisoned worldwide face anti-state charges, the number charged with so-called false news increased to 30.

Use of the charge, which the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi applies most prolifically, has climbed steeply since 2012, when the CPJ found only one journalist in the world facing the allegation.

In the previous year, repressive countries, including Russian Federation and Singapore, have enacted laws criminalising publication of "fake news".

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In the year previous, there were 68 journalists jailed in Turkey, significantly more than this year. But CPJ says this results from a successful government campaign to eliminate independent reporting.

About eight percent of those imprisoned globally are women, down from 13 percent past year, the report said.

In Saudi Arabia, no charges have been disclosed in 18 of the cases, the CPJ report said.

A list published by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has ranked Egypt, Eritrea, and Cameroon the worst nations in Africa for jailing journalists. Those jailed include Sophia Huang Xueqin, a #MeToo activist in China, who was arrested after writing about her experience attending pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Three of the four journalists with foreign citizenship are imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, and the fourth in China.

Of 39 journalists jailed in sub-Saharan Africa, the bulk remains in Eritrea, where most have not been heard from for almost two decades; Cameroon was second worst.

China's total rose by one since past year.

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