The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 251 journalists from around the globe were in jail because of their work as of Dec. 1.
The bulk (70 percent) of the imprisoned journalists face anti-state charges such as belonging to or abetting terrorist groups.
Turkey, China and Egypt are the world’s top media gulags, accounting for more than half of those in prison, according to the report released Dec. 12.
CPJ found that the number of media people jailed on charges of “false news” rose sharply from nine two years ago to 28 this year. Let's give it up for Donald Trump!
The organization said: “The increase comes amid heightened global rhetoric about ‘fake news,’ of which US president Donald Trump is the leading voice.”
CPJ took note of a fresh wave of repression in Saudi Arabia that led to a crackdown on press freedom. Sixteen journalists, including four females who wrote about women's rights in the Kingdom, including the lifting of the ban on driving, were behind bars on Dec. 1.
Saudi Arabia has faced US Congressional criticism in the aftermath of the torture, murder and dismemberment of dissident and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Anti-press Trump though, gave the Saudis a free ride over the Khashoggi atrocity. Rather than condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom US intelligence agencies said ordered the Khashoggi murder, Trump shamefully passed.
“Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t," wimped out Trump on Nov. 27. Shamefully, he put the false promise of billions of dollars in defense contracts from the Saudis ahead of this country’s moral standing in the world.
The tweeter-in-chief’s unwillingness to criticize Crown Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia’s defacto ruler, sends a powerful signal to authoritarians and despots throughout the world: the media are fair game.
Trump today cancelled the annual White House Christmas party for the media.
It’s just as well.
Attending a party hosted by a guy who routinely denigrates the press as the “enemy of the people,” would have been the height of hypocrisy.
Let's wish journalists throughout the world a happy and safe New Year.