MILITARY

CPJ: More journalists jailed than in nearly 3 decades

  • FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2016, file photo, Journalists and lawmakers hold a latest copy of Cumhuriyet newspaper outside its Istanbul headquarters after police detained chief editor Murat Sabuncu and two columnists of Turkey's opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper and had warrants to detain 10 other senior staff members, in Istanbul, Turkey. In a two-month period, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government detained more than 100 journalists and closed down at least 100 news outlets, a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, said on Tuesday, Dec. 12. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2016, file photo, Journalists and lawmakers hold a latest copy of Cumhuriyet newspaper outside its Istanbul headquarters after police detained chief editor Murat Sabuncu and two columnists of Turkey's opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper and had warrants to detain 10 other senior staff members, in Istanbul, Turkey. In a two-month period, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government detained more than 100 journalists and closed down at least 100 news outlets, a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, said on Tuesday, Dec. 12. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, April 17, 2015 file photo, anti-Beijing protesters hold pictures of jailed veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu during a rally outside Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong. In a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the group said that after Turkey, the worst offender in 2016 was China, where 38 journalists were in custody on Dec. 1. China had jailed the most journalists worldwide in the previous two years. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, April 17, 2015 file photo, anti-Beijing protesters hold pictures of jailed veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu during a rally outside Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong. In a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the group said that after Turkey, the worst offender in 2016 was China, where 38 journalists were in custody on Dec. 1. China had jailed the most journalists worldwide in the previous two years. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2016, file photo, Turkey's President addresses police officers in Ankara, Turkey. A state of emergency is still in force in Turkey following the July 15 coup attempt and the resulting government crackdown on alleged coup sympathizers has landed thousands in jail and forced tens of thousands of people from their jobs. In a two-month period, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government detained more than 100 journalists and closed down at least 100 news outlets, a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, said on Tuesday, Dec. 12. (Murat Cetinmuhurdar, Presidential Press Service, Pool photo via AP)

    FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2016, file photo, Turkey's President addresses police officers in Ankara, Turkey. A state of emergency is still in force in Turkey following the July 15 coup attempt and the resulting government crackdown on alleged coup sympathizers has landed thousands in jail and forced tens of thousands of people from their jobs. In a two-month period, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government detained more than 100 journalists and closed down at least 100 news outlets, a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, said on Tuesday, Dec. 12. (Murat Cetinmuhurdar, Presidential Press Service, Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

More journalists have been jailed this year by governments around the world than at any time in nearly three decades, primarily because of the crackdown in Turkey after a failed coup in July, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.

At least 81 journalists were imprisoned in Turkey as of Dec. 1, all facing anti-state charges, said the nonprofit group that works to defend press freedoms.

"In Turkey, media freedom was already under siege in early 2016, with authorities arresting, harassing, and expelling journalists and shutting down or taking over news outlets," said the group's report on its annual census of imprisoned journalists.

Written by Elana Beiser, the report said a total of 259 journalists are jailed around the world, compared to 199 at the same time last year. That is the highest number since the group began keeping detailed records in 1990. The numbers do not include journalists who have disappeared or are held captive by non-state groups.

A state of emergency is still in force in Turkey following the July 15 coup attempt and the resulting government crackdown on alleged coup sympathizers has landed thousands in jail and forced tens of thousands of people from their jobs. Critics call the move a witch hunt. Western governments, human rights group and legal experts have repeatedly expressed concern over events in Turkey, which was once hailed as a model of Muslim democracy.

In a two-month period, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government detained more than 100 journalists and closed down at least 100 news outlets, the report said.

Even before the coup attempt, the rate of press freedom violations in Turkey spurred the Committee to Protect Journalists to launch last March a special diary called "Turkey Crackdown Chronicle."

The group said that after Turkey, the worst offender in 2016 was China, where 38 journalists were in custody on Dec. 1. China had jailed the most journalists worldwide in the previous two years.

"In recent weeks, Beijing deepened its crackdown on journalists who cover protests and human rights abuses," the report said.

Egypt was listed in third place, with 25 journalists incarcerated.

This year marked the first time since 2008 that Iran was not among the top five worst offenders. The report said that is because many of those sentenced in a postelection crackdown in 2009 have served their sentences and been released.

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Online:

Committee to Protect Journalists: www.cpj.org