These Countries Are the Most Dangerous for Journalists

Journalism is a crucial cog in a free and democratic society because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up keeping a check on those in power. It is perhaps for this very reason that journalists so often find themselves in the line of fire. Attempts at stifling a free press include putting restrictions on what news outlets can and can’t publish. Some governments go so far as to imprison journalists, and there have ben 57 cases of journalists being killed this year alone.

This information is coming from Reporters Without Borders, and it also revealed that there are around 532 journalists who are currently languishing in prison all around the world. Mexico turned out to be the most dangerous for journalists, with 11 of them having been killed in 2022 alone. Coming in second was Ukraine, with 8 journalists killed this year mostly as a result of Russia’s invasion. Ukraine is followed by Haiti with 6 journalists killed in the span of a year.

Yemen, Syria Brazil both tied for fourth place, although the war was to blame in Yemen and Syria whereas in Brazil there was no such conflict to cause disproportionate action against journalists. We then have the countries of Somalia, Palestine, Pakistan and Myanmar with 2 journalists killed this year in each country.

However, conflicts that have erupted in some of these countries may be resulting in disproportionate attacks against journalist and making them more frequent than might have been the case otherwise. A much more robust rubric for determining which countries are the most hostile towards their journalists is to look at how often they imprison them.

China is far and away the leader in this category, with 99 of its journalists currently in prison as of 14th December 2022. Myanmar comes in second at 62, with the military junta currently ruling the country not accepting criticism from any quarters. The state of journalism in Myanmar might be even more dire than China, since the country has 4% of China’s population yet 2/3rds as many jailed journalists.

Iran is another bad actor as far as journalists are concerned. The recent protests after the killing of Mahsa Amini have brought much of Iran’s authoritarianism to light. Currently, there are 47 Iranian journalists who have been imprisoned, and the charges against them are most often dubious at best.

Vietnam comes in with 39 jailed journalists, followed by Belarus with 31. 27 Syrian journalists are also in prison, with Saudi Arabia also clamping down on journalism in the country by putting 26 of its members of the press in jail.

Egypt and Turkey round off the list, with 24 journalists apiece in prison. This speaks to a concerning trend, one that can be found in countries that are lacking the same level of democratic advancement as others. Imprisonment is just one of the many ways in which journalists can have their freedoms curbed in such nations. Additionally, it can be hard to tell if these numbers are accurate. After all, it’s not like journalists in these countries would be able to provide accurate assessments without putting themselves at risk to some extent.

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