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Group says 262 journalists imprisoned worldwide reached record levels

NEW YORK – An advocacy group for journalists said on Wednesday that 262 people have been incarcerated around the world for their work in gathering and reporting the news, a record high.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said the number of imprisoned journalists is the highest since it started the implementation of its annual survey of journalists behind bars in the early 1990s. It said that the 2017 number topped last year’s total of 259 imprisoned journalists, the highest number until then.

“The pattern reflects a sad failure of the international community to a global crisis in the freedom of the press”, said the group editorial director Elana Beiser.

The three countries where the most journalists are imprisoned are Turkey, China and Egypt, the organization said. There are 73 journalists behind bars in Turkey, 41 in China and 20 in Egypt, it said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year began an action against the journalists that he is suspected of having links to the organizers of an unsuccessful coup.

The repression has continued, the interests of the group said, with the Turkish authorities, accusing some journalists of terrorist activity solely on the basis of their reported use of a messaging app, Bylock, or bank accounts at institutions allegedly linked to the coup plotters.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, in New York, said Erdogan’s government “showed little price to pay for the repressive tactics on to note that the AMERICAN President Donald Trump hosted Erdogan at the White House in May, and praises him as a friend.

The organization also notes that Trump, a Republican, visited China in November and made no public reference to human rights in spite of the recent abuses and the arrests of journalists.

The group said that the list is a snapshot of those journalists who were imprisoned for doing their jobs on Dec. 1. The list does not include journalists who were imprisoned and released throughout the year.

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