There are now 125 members of the press jailed world-wide, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) — and 56 of them are on-line journalists, “reflecting the rising influence of online reporting and commentary”, CPJ says in its newly-released annual census of imprisoned journalists.
According to its report, “CPJ found that 45 percent of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors. Online journalists represent the largest professional category for the first time in CPJ’s prison census … The number of imprisoned online journalists has steadily increased since CPJ recorded the first jailed Internet writer in its 1997 census. Print reporters, editors, and photographers make up the next largest professional category, with 53 cases in 2008. Television and radio journalists and documentary filmmakers constitute the rest”.
The total number of jailed journalists is down slightly — two fewer than in 2007 — and down from a peak high of 139 imprisoned in 2002.
The CPJ notes that its research “shows that imprisonments rose significantly in 2001, after governments imposed sweeping national security laws in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Imprisonments stood at 81 in 2000 but have since averaged 128 in CPJ’s annual surveys”.
The annual census also reveals that “Forty-five of the journalists on CPJ’s census are freelancers; most of them work online. These freelancers are not employees of media companies and often do not have the legal resources or political connections that might help them gain their freedom. The number of imprisoned freelancers has risen more than 40 percent in the last two years, according to CPJ research”.
And the CPJ reports that “The number of imprisoned online journalists has steadily increased since CPJ recorded the first jailed Internet writer in its 1997 census. Print reporters, editors, and photographers make up the next largest professional category, with 53 cases in 2008. Television and radio journalists and documentary filmmakers constitute the rest”.
The CPJ says that it “does not apply a rigid definition of online journalism, but it carefully evaluates the work of bloggers and online writers to determine whether the content is journalistic in nature. In general, CPJ looks to see whether the content is reportorial or fact-based commentary. In a repressive society where the traditional media is restricted, CPJ takes an inclusive approach to work that is produced online.
According to CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon, ” ‘Online journalism has changed the media landscape and the way we communicate with each other … But the power and influence of this new generation of online journalists has captured the attention of repressive governments around the world, and they have accelerated their counterattack … The image of the solitary blogger working at home in pajamas may be appealing, but when the knock comes on the door they are alone and vulnerable … All of us must stand up for their rights–from Internet companies to journalists and press freedom groups. The future of journalism is online and we are now in a battle with the enemies of press freedom who are using imprisonment to define the limits of public discourse.”
And, the CPJ annual survey reveals that “About 13 percent of jailed journalists face no formal charge at all. The tactic is used by countries as diverse as Eritrea, Israel, Iran, the United States, and Uzbekistan, where journalists are being held in open-ended detentions without due process. At least 16 journalists worldwide are being held in secret locations. The CPJ reports that “U.S. military authorities have jailed dozens of journalists in Iraq–some for days, others for months at a time–without charge or due process. No charges have ever been substantiated in these cases”.
This information is published in full here.
Elsewhere on its website, the CPJ reports that 713 journalists (of whom over 11% were freelance) have been killed world-wide from 1 January 1992 through 11 October 2008 — and it says that 28.8% were threatened before being killed. and 18.7% were taken captive before being killed:
Type of death:
* Murder: 72.1%
* Crossfire/Combat related: 17.5%
* During other dangerous assignment: 10.2%
* Undetermined: 0.2%
Type of weapon used:
* Small arms (includes handguns, rifles): 53%
* Heavy arms (includes artillery, air strikes): 14.3%
* Explosives: 10.5%
* Knives: 6.6%
* Hands (includes beating, strangling): 5%
Suspected perpetrators in murder cases:
* Political groups: 31.2%
* Government officials: 18.5%
* Criminal group: 11.1%
* Paramilitaries: 7.2%
* Military: 5.8%
* Local residents: 2.1%
* Mob: 1.2%
* Unknown: 22%
Impunity in [these] murder cases:
* Complete impunity: 88.5%
* Partial justice: 6.4%
* Full justice: 5.1%
The CPJ also says on its website that “We do not include journalists who are killed in accidents—such as car or plane crashes—unless the crash was caused by hostile action (for example, if a plane were shot down or a car crashed trying to avoid gunfire)”.
This information can be studied in full here.