Prison cell A new CPJ study suggests 145 reporters, editors and photojournalists are in jail in 28 countries. Photo: Adrian Van Leen
The number of journalists currently in prison has risen to its highest level since 1996, according to new figures released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, the CPJ found that as of 1 December, 145 reporters, editors and photojournalists were in jail in 28 countries. The 2010 figure represents an increase of nine from 2009's census despite the release in October of 14 journalists jailed in Cuba.

Most of those imprisoned were working online (69), with almost as many in print (57) and freelancers across all mediums account for 64 cases of imprisonment, a figure which is consistent with 2009's findings. Of those being held, 72 have been detained on anti-state charges, while 34 are imprisoned despite no charge being filed against them, the CPJ data suggests.

China and Iran are the biggest jailers of journalists with 34 imprisoned in each country. Ten more journalists are now in prison in China compared with the figure in 2009 and nine in Iran. Recent imprisonments in Iran show an ongoing trend that began in a crackdown on journalists following post-election violence in the country, says the CPJ, while the increase in cases in China has been driven in part by a series of jailings of journalists from Tibet and Uighur.

"The increase in the number of journalists jailed around the world is a shocking development," says CPJ executive director Joel Simon on the organisation's website.

"It is fuelled largely by a small handful of countries that systematically jail journalists - countries that are at war with information itself."

The census does not include journalists that have been imprisoned and released earlier in 2010.

Related articles on

Somalian journalist released from prison after presidential pardon

Campaigners call on Azerbaijani government to release imprisoned editor

Iran world leader in imprisoning journalists, according to new CPJ figures

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).