The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Email:,

Second Worst Year on Record for Jailed Journalists


For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world's leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China. Together, the three countries accounted for more than half of all journalists imprisoned around the world, the Committee to Protect Journalists found.

"Jailing journalists for their work is the hallmark of an intolerant, repressive society," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "It is disturbing to see the number of jailed journalists rise in countries like Vietnam and Egypt. But it is frankly shocking that Turkey would be the world's worst jailer of journalists for the second year in a row."

The list of top 10 worst jailers of journalists was rounded out by Eritrea, Vietnam, Syria, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Uzbekistan.

In total, there were 211 journalists behind bars on December 1, 2013. CPJ's list does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year. Detailed accounts of each journalist can be found at

The number of journalists imprisoned by Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria declined to 12 from 15 the previous year, but the census does not account for the dozens of reporters who have been abducted and are believed to be held by armed opposition groups. As of late 2013, about 30 journalists were missing in Syria.

There were several notable changes in the prison population this year. Vietnam was holding 18 journalists, up from 14 a year earlier, as authorities intensified a crackdown on bloggers. Newcomers to the census compared with the previous year were Jordan, Russia, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Macedonia, Pakistan, Republic of Congo, the United States, and Egypt--which was holding five journalists.

The single journalist behind bars in the Americas was in the U.S. In recent years, journalist jailings in the Americas have become increasingly rare.

CPJ has sent letters expressing its serious concerns to each country that has imprisoned a journalist. In the past year, CPJ advocacy led to the early release of at least 39 imprisoned journalists worldwide.

Journalists who either disappear or are abducted by non-state entities such as criminal gangs or militant groups are not included on the prison census. Their cases are classified as "missing" or "abducted."

CPJ documented 52 journalists killed so far in 2013, and will release an updated list on December 30, 2013. Up-to-date numbers can also be found at Reporters without Borders (RSF) also released statistics today. Detailed information can be found on RSF's website.

CPJ's report is also available in Arabic, French, Russian, Turkish, Farsi, Portuguese, Chinese, and Spanish.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide. We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

(212) 465-1004