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15.12.2009 General News

Number of jailed freelance journalists soars

By gna
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Hohoe, Dec. 15, GNA - The number of freelance journalists jailed around the world has almost doubled in the past three years and reflects a changing global news business.

This was contained in a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York based press freedom group.

It said as at December 1 this year, a total of 136 reporters, editors and photo journalists, almost half of whom are freelancers, found themselves behind bars.

This represents an increase of 11 in 2008.
The report placed China tops of countries who jailed journalists having held that position for the 11th consecutive time with 24 media practitioners behind bars, followed by Iran, 23, Cuba, 22, Eritrea, 19 and Burma nine.

It said 21 other countries, including the USA, jailed journalists with the USA detaining a freelance Iraqi journalist working for Reuters for more than a year.

It said there are 68 of online journalists in jail this year.

The report said the number of freelance journalists jailed worldwide had grown because the Internet allowed more journalists to work independently as some news organizations tended to rely on freelancers to cover international assignments to cut cost.

"The days when journalists went off on dangerous assignments knowing they had the full institutional weight of their media organizations behind them are receding into history", said Joel Simon, CPJ Executive Director.

The report said this trend had opened the door to a new generation of reporters who have become increasingly vulnerable.


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