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Freelance journalists more likely to be jailed in 2009, says CPJ

New York, December 8, 2009 | from Committee to Protect Journalists

Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ found a total of 136 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of 11 from the 2008 tally.  A massive crackdown in Iran, where 23 journalists are now in jail, fueled the worldwide increase.

“The days when journalists went off on dangerous assignments knowing they had the full institutional weight of their media organizations behind them are receding into history,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Today, journalists on the front lines are increasingly working independently. The rise of online journalism has opened the door to a new generation of reporters, but it also means they are vulnerable.”

China continued to be the world’s worst jailer of journalists, a dishonor it has held for 11 consecutive years. Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma round out the top five jailers from among the 26 nations that imprison journalists. Each nation has persistently placed among the world’s worst in detaining journalists.

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