Reporters Without Borders: 2022 Worst Year for Journalist Incarceration


Reporters Without Borders (rsf) released its annual “round-up” on the state of journalist safety worldwide this morning. The report shows that the situation for journalists around the world is bleaker than ever. Some statistics:

  • rsf lists 533 journalists incarcerated in connection to their work, a record high, up 13.4 percent from 2021.
  • 78 of those 533 journalists are women. This is also a record breaker.
  • 57 journalists, so far, in 2022 have been killed because of their work, an 18.8 percent increase from 2021.
  • Over 60 percent of journalists killed so far in 2022 have died in countries considered to be at peace.
  • The worst region for journalists getting killed is the Americas: 11 died in Mexico, 6 in Haiti, and 3 in Brazil. Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay and the United States each recorded one death. Almost half of all journalists killed for their work are from the Americas.
  • rsf lists 65 journalists and media workers as being held hostage. They are held in just four countries: Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Mali. Syria alone holds 42.
  • The five biggest incarcerators of journalists worldwide are China (110), Myanmar (62), Iran (47), Vietnam (39) and Belarus (31).

Some of the case studies rsf lists:

  • Mohamed Mouloudj is a journalist arrested under terrorism charges. He contacted the “Movement for Self-Determination of Kabylie” (mak) an Algerian separatist group, via text message for an interview request. The Algerian government declared mak a terrorist group and used Mouloudj’s text as “proof” of his membership.
  • Ivan Safronov, a man “considered one of Russia’s best investigative journalists,” was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment “for revealing ‘state secrets’ that were readily available online.”
  • Nilufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi were the journalists who first drew attention to the death of Masha Amini, whose murder catalyzed Iran’s current protests. They were arrested in September and now face the death penalty.
  • Maks Levin was a Ukrainian photojournalist who was, according to an rsf investigation, deliberately shot by Russian soldiers in March.

These facts are a picture not just of journalism being under attack, but of reporting the truth at large. The incarceration figures show it has never been more dangerous, since rsf was founded in 1985, to seek and publish the truth. For those wanting access to accurate, honest and meaningful information, the onus is on them to get the truth before circumstances get even worse. An article in our October print edition, “Get This Message While You Can,” shows how the trend of journalism under attack is even more serious than most people realize.