A report by the Community to Protect Journalists has noted that Nigeria remains hostile to the press, evident in the attacks and arrests of journalists.
Under the quick facts session, CPJ noted that Nigeria was a new entry under its worst jailers, behind Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cameroon, Benin and Somalia.
This is contained in a statement published on CPJ’s website on Thursday for its annual prison census and survey of attacks on the press.
Nigerian broadcasters have in recent times come under regulatory hammer for airing critical or anti-government voices. Presenters have been called in and while critical journalists have been harassed and put on security watch for their work. Peoples Gazette website has since the beginning of the year been blocked by the government for publishing an unfavourable report about the president’s chief of staff.
The CPJ report notes that 50 journalists have been jailed in China during the year, making China the deadliest jailer of journalists.
Myanmar follows after China with 26 jailed journalists and scores of reporters arrested after its February 1 military coup. In the statement, Myanmar is followed by Egypt which has jailed 25 journalists; Vietnam, 23; and Belarus, 19.
For the whole year, CPJ states that 293 journalists were arrested and 24 others died through targeted killings in.
“This is the sixth year in a row that CPJ has documented record numbers of journalists imprisoned around the world. The number reflects two inextricable challenges governments are determined to control and manage information, and they are increasingly brazen in their efforts to do so,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.
Mr Simon also noted that imprisoning journalists for reporting the news is the hallmark of an authoritarian regime.
The statement also lists Turkey, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran among the top ten states where governments “routinely weaponise tech and security laws to stifle dissent and continue to flout international norms without consequence.”
“Globally, anti-state charges remain the most common, but this year CPJ also documented at least 17 jailed journalists charged with cybercrimes, which in some cases can result in criminal prosecution for anything published or distributed online,” the statement reads.