[Free Press Forum Statement] About 500 Journalists who are imprisoned around the world…Governments should immediately release journalists
[Free Press Forum Statement] About 500 Journalists who are imprisoned around the world…Governments should immediately release journalists
  • Free Press Forum
  • 승인 2024.01.03 10:54
  • 수정 2024.01.03 10:25
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가자지구에서 희생된 언론인 야세르 무르타이아를 추모하는 집회에서 언론인들이 이스라엘 정부에 항의하고 있다. /로이터 연합뉴스
Journalists take part in a protest against the killing of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja in the southern Gaza Strip. (Reuters/ Yonhap)

Although the world entered 2024 with hope, the media sector started with more than 500 journalists in custody.

In terms of press freedom, the new year is a grim start and it is frustrating that the oppression will continue without a sharp solution.

In many countries around the world, regimes are killing or detaining journalists to block truth reports and information.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), 547 journalists around the world are under jail or house arrest as of January. Nearly half of them belong to four countries: China, Myanmar, Belarus and Vietnam.

China currently holds the largest number of journalists in the world, with 121 people in custody.

China is obliged to take an ideological verification test to obtain a press card. In addition, applications promoting Xi Jinping's philosophy must be downloaded on smartphones. This App is suspected as a "spy app" that can monitor personal information.

Chinese media management authorities are known to provide 90 hours of "CCP-organized" education annually, especially for journalists.

China has intensified censorship of local media, especially since the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Act in June 2020, while expanding prosecutions of media workers.

Myanmar imprisoned photojournalist Sai Zaw Thaike last year after he sentenced him to 20 years in prison on various charges, including "false information" and "incitement."

The Turkiyen government detained nearly 50 journalists last year, five of whom remain in custody.

Last year, 58 journalists in Iran had to spend more than 48 hours in a government prison. Currently, 21 people, including five women, have not been released. Female journalists Elaheh Mohammadi and Nilofar Hamedi have been sentenced to 12 and 13 years, respectively, and are imprisoned.

In Iran, persecution surged after Mahsa Amini died in police custody in September 2022, as journalists continued to try to report the truth to the people. Authorities have created a maze where journalists cannot escape, based on arbitrary arrests and trials of fake charges.

The persecution of journalists is also coming to the fore in the Israel-Hamas war.

The number of Palestinian journalists arrested and detained by the Israeli military has been increasing since the war began in October last year. It is known that more than 30 people are currently being held by Israeli authorities without prosecution or trial.

19 of them are being held by Israeli security forces as a "preventive detention" measure that allows anyone to be detained without judicial proceedings for "security reasons." At least 76 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since the war began, and at least 16 of them have been killed in the course of coverage.

Communists in Vietnam and Russia are also serious. In Vietnam, where the media has to follow the orders of the Communist Party, 43 journalists were detained for at least 48 hours last year, and 36 are currently in custody.

In Russia, 34 journalists have been detained in the past 12 months amid a hostile atmosphere against independent media and journalists. About 30 of them have yet to be released. They include two U.S. citizens.

In Egypt, Mohammed Oxygen, the founder of the Oxigen Misr blog, has been arrested since 2019 on charges of "spreading fake news" by covering anti-government protests. Winning the 2023 RSF Courage Award, he has been held in solitary confinement at Cairo's Badr prison since May 2023 for defending his fellow inmate.

The U.S. is no exception in cracking down on journalists. The U.S. government is urging the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is imprisoned in London, to be transferred, saying he violated the law by releasing a secret video of the war in Afghanistan.

Freedom has been the foundation of human history. History proves that there was no political or economic development during the Middle Ages, but rather a regression.
Increasing repression of journalists is reversing the wheels of history.

Governments in each country should immediately stop suppressing the media and journalists!

Release the wrongfully detained journalists immediately!

Free Press Forum / Chairman Park Jung-kyoo



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