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China Moves Ahead of Turkey in Jailing Journalists

With journalists under siege, China moved past Turkey as the world leader in jailing reporters, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said, with some 251 imprisoned around the globe and growing threats devastating media freedom as authoritarian leaders grow bolder.
CPJ said a Chinese crackdown in the region of Xinjiang and Turkey’s eradication of “virtually all independent reporting,” has left many reporters unemployed, driven into exile or intimidated into self-censorship.
The report came a day after the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said the number of those killed this year had fallen to 49 from 95 in 2018, mostly because they’re being scared off from war zones or dangerous areas with many governments doing little to stop attacks on them.
“Although we welcome the fewer losses of lives that we have recorded, we mourn the fact that these conflicts are no longer properly covered by professionals,” the IFJ’s head of human rights and safety Ernest Sagaga told The Associated Press.
After China and Turkey – where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved to eliminate critical media and canceled press accreditations to 682 journalists earlier this year – the worst places for journalists were Saudi Arabia, where the government was accused of ordering the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and Egypt.
CPJ said Erdogan, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt showed “no sign of letting up on the critical media.”
In Saudi Arabia at least 26 are being held, as in Egypt, with 16 in Eritrea, Vietnam, 12; Iran, 11; Russia and Cameroon, seven each; Bahrain and Azerbaijan, six each; Syria, 5; and Burundi, Rwanda and Morocco, with four each.
Turkey lost its world title in locking up reporters for the first time in four years as the number incarcerated fell to 47 from 68 in 2018. But the group said the reduction did “not signal an improved situation for the Turkish media.”
Erdogan was singled out, the group saying Turkey was unseated not because of more tolerance but the effect of less as he moved to “stamp out independent reporting,” closing more than 100 news outlets, sending journalists fleeing to other countries or afraid of writing anything critical
“Dozens of journalists not currently jailed in Turkey are still facing trial or appeal and could yet be sentenced to prison,” the group said, while “others have been sentenced in absentia and face arrest if they return to the country.”
In China, at least 48 journalists are in jail, one more than in 2018, as Xi “instituted ever tighter controls on the media,” especially in Xinjiang where a million members of Muslim groups were put in internment camps and dozens of journalists arrested, the New York Times said.

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