Under pressure: World Press Freedom Day by the numbers

World Press Freedom Day provides a useful opportunity to reflect on and highlight the threats that journalists face, and the bravery it takes to report the news in many parts of the world. It can be discouraging to see press freedom increasingly threatened around the globe, but the resilience of these reporters keeps us motivated, and the stakes for a free press have never been higher. This year to date, CPJ has counted at least five journalists who have been killed in the line of work — three of whom were singled out for murder in direct retaliation for their reporting.

If you are interested in writing a story on press freedom, CPJ’s reporting and research can serve as a valuable resource:

Here are some recent trends CPJ has noted in our reporting:

  • In 2018, the number of journalists murdered in direct retaliation for their reporting rose 88% compared to the previous year
  • Journalists covering elections risk being attacked, harassed, or detained
  • As world leaders denigrate the press, the number of journalists imprisoned on “false news” charges jumped from nine in 2016 to 28 cases in 2018.

CPJ reports daily on attacks and threats to journalists worldwide. Here are a few recent cases deserving of attention:

  • Released after an unjust five-year imprisonment In Egypt, journalists “Shawkan” and Alaa Abdelfattah are still required to check in each night at the police station
  • Missing independent Tanzanian journalist Azory Gwanda was last seen Nov 21, 2017, while reporting on mysterious killings
  • Saudi Arabia is imprisoning several journalists (including at least three women) for covering women’s rights.
  • Journalists in Venezuela are battling an ongoing crackdown to bring desperately-needed information to their communities
  • In Malta, the murderers of Panama-papers reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia continue to get away with impunity
  • NSO Group, which sells spyware that has been abused to surveil journalists, responds to accusations with spin

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