Iran named as world’s top jailer of journalists

Iran topples China as report shows Arab Spring spurs 50% surge in jailed writers

At least 79 journalists are currently held in Iran's jails

At least 79 journalists are currently held in Iran's jails

The number of journalists imprisoned in the Middle East and Africa has shot up by 50 percent this year as governments cracked down on media freedoms in the wake of Arab Spring uprisings.

Iran is the world’s leading jailor of writers, editors and photojournalists, toppling China for the first time, found the annual census survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“While Iran’s 2009 post-election crackdown marked the beginning of widespread press imprisonments there, authorities have maintained a revolving cell door since that time,” the report from the New York agency said.

“The volume of arrests, interrogations, and people out on bail is enormous,” Omid Memarian, an exiled Iranian journalist was quoted as saying. “Journalists know they should not touch critical subjects. It really affects the way they cover news because they are under constant fear and intimidation.”

Journalists in Iran have been held under charges such as treason, subversion or acting against national interests. At least 79 are currently held on such charges in Iranian jails, CPJ said.

In total, 179 reporters were imprisoned worldwide this year, compared to 145 in 2010. Eritrea, China, Burma, Vietnam, Syria, and Turkey also ranked among the world's leading jailors of journalists, CPJ said.

Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder at consultancy firm Cornerstone Global Associates, said campaigns of anti-press intimidation would have a negative economic impact on the countries involved.

 “Most of those arrests appear to be essentially due to opinions held by the journalists,” he said. “In a world of open information, countries that feature high on the list undermine the confidence people have in any information they put out. This not only affects their political standing, but will inevitably impact on their credibility in other areas, including economic development. There is a clear correlation between FDI (foreign direct investment) and freedom of reporting.”

Related:
Topics
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on arabianbusiness.com may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Virtue and Vice: The world according to Shane Smith

Virtue and Vice: The world according to Shane Smith

Vice Media co-founder and chief executive Shane Smith set a new...

The art of social media influencing

The art of social media influencing

As social media influencers increasingly demand attention in...

Digital dilemma: the future on advertising

Digital dilemma: the future on advertising

If you’re not advertising online these days, you’re not advertising...

Most Discussed
sponsoredTracking