Imprisonments jump worldwide, and Iran is worst

Stark regional differences are seen as jailings grow significantly in the Middle East and North Africa. Dozens of journalists are held without charge, many in secret prisons. A CPJ special report

 

Behind a wall of police, Turkish writer Ahmet Şik arrives at a courthouse in Istanbul to face antistate charges. (Reuters)

Behind a wall of police, Turkish writer Ahmet Şik arrives at a courthouse in Istanbul to face antistate charges. (Reuters)

The number of journalists jailed in the Middle East and North Africa jumped by about 50 percent over last year. The increase came not only in nations such as Syria, where a repressive regime was jailing eight journalists in a desperate bid to retain power by suppressing independent reporting. Imprisonments were also reported in the stable democracy of Turkey, which was holding eight journalists when CPJ conducted its survey. While stepping up their past practice of imprisoning Kurdish editors and writers, authorities have also begun targeting mainstream journalists engaged in investigative reporting. The detainees in Turkey include Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, both prominent authors and newspaper journalists who critically probed government shortcomings. ?After the imprisonment of these two journalists, it?s more threatening for all journalists,? said Erkan Saka, a political blogger and lecturer at Istanbul Bilgi University. ?There is more self-censorship.?

 

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