Iran’s sustained crackdown on critical voices and China’s brutal suppression of ethnic journalism have pushed the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide to its highest level since 1996, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ identified 145 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of nine from the 2009 tally.
Iran and China, with 34 imprisoned journalists apiece, are the world’s worst jailers of the press, together constituting nearly half of the worldwide total. Eritrea, Burma, and Uzbekistan round out the five worst jailers from among the 28 nations that imprison journalists. (Read detailed accounts of each imprisoned journalist.)
Data from Iran are surprising in that they reflect imprisonments not simply from the post-election crackdown of 2009, but from a sustained assault on critical voices that continues to this day. In the last two months alone, CPJ found, Iranian authorities have detained four journalists. The Iranian detainees range from internationally known writers such as Issa Saharkhiz, a veteran state journalist who became a reform-minded columnist, to Navid Mohebbi, a blogger covering women’s rights who, at age 18, is the youngest person in CPJ’s census.