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The American organization, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), points out that China is the leading jailer of journalists worldwide this year. This is the second consecutive year China has made the chart and is followed by Egypt, which has doubled its numbers of journalists imprisoned.

China holds one-fourth of the world’s imprisoned journalists, 80% of which are from web-based media

This year, the total number of imprisoned journalists in the world is 199 and a quarter of them are in China. Daily Mail reports, currently China has imprisoned 49 journalists. This is a record high since CPJ started the annual report in 1990.

Although the overall number of imprisoned journalists has slightly decreased in the past three years, there are still countries that systematically jail media workers.

The report notes that among the 49 imprisoned journalists in China, 80% of them are from web-based media. Early last year, Uighur scholar and online writer, Ilham Tohti, and other seven Uighur students were arrested by the police with the charge of inciting subversion of the state power. All the content on Uighur Online’s website, founded by Tohti, was deleted.

CPJ: Economic issues are becoming sensitive words in China

CPJ believes that as China’s economic growth has been slowing down, economic issues are becoming a new sensitive topic that might lead journalists into imprisonment.

Wang Xiaolu, journalist of Caijing, a business magazine in Beijing, was arrested this August after reporting on China’s Securities Regulatory Commission. Xinhua reports, Wang was suspected of fabricating and spreading false information and his report resulted in an abnormal fluctuation in the stock market.

According to CPJ’s report, half of the imprisoned Chinese journalists are charged with subversion of the state, and 45% were imprisoned due to false accusations.

The number of journalists imprisoned in Egypt has doubled in a year

According to the report, Egypt has witnessed the most rapid deterioration of freedom of the press across the world. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi continues to use the pretext of national security to clamp down on dissent. In 2015, 23 journalists were in jail in Egypt, compared with 12 in 2014, although as recently as 2012, no journalists were in jail for their work in Egypt, according to the report. Egypt is now the second-worst jailer behind China.

The Guardian reports, as Egypt passed a new bill to illegalize false reports on terrorist attacks, Egypt’s freedom of the press may be furthered narrowed.

More than half of the journalists are imprisoned due to subversion of the regime

In the 28 countries covered in the report, more than half of the journalists were accused of subverting the government. In addition, 25% of the journalists were falsely convicted of having guns or drugs in their possession.

Translated and compiled by Vic Chiang and Crystal Chan
Edited by Olivia Yang