Photographer Shahidul Alam released on 20 November in Dhaka

Hundreds of jailed journalists the new norm – CPJ census

127
Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was released from Dhaka Central Jail, Keraniganj, near Dhaka, on Nov. 20, 2018
Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was released from Dhaka Central Jail, Keraniganj, near Dhaka, on Nov. 20, 2018

13 Dec 2018. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser reveals that for the third consecutive year, at least 251 journalists are behind bars for their work, as authoritarian regimes increasingly use imprisonment to silence dissent, the Committee to Protect Journalists found. In Africa, Egypt is a major culprit.

As of 1 December 2018, CPJ found 251 journalists in jail for their work. China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia imprisoned more journalists than last year as they intensified their repression of local journalists, and Turkey remained the world’s worst jailer for the third year in a row, with at least 68 behind bars.

Amid global anti-press rhetoric, CPJ’s census found 70% of journalists were jailed on anti-state charges and 28 charged with ‘false news’ – the latter is an increase from nine in 2016. Politics was the most dangerous beat for journalists, followed by human rights.

The number of female journalists behind bars increased, with 33 imprisoned globally, including four in Saudi Arabia who wrote about women’s rights. An increase in the overall number of journalists jailed in China this year is the result in part of Beijing’s persecution of the Uighur ethnic minority.

Global assault

“The terrible global assault on journalists that has intensified in the past few years shows no sign of abating. It is unacceptable that 251 journalists are in jail around the world just for covering the news,” said CPJ executive director Joel Simon. “The broader cost is being borne by all those who care about the flow of news and information. The tyrants who use imprisonment to impose censorship cannot be allowed to get away with it.”

The prison census accounts only for journalists in government custody and does not include those who have disappeared or are held captive by non-state actors. Cases including journalists held by Houthi rebels in Yemen and a Ukrainian journalist held by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are classified as ‘missing’ or ‘abducted.’

In the US, no journalists were in jail for their work on 1 December, although in the past 18 months CPJ has documented or assisted with the cases of at least seven foreign journalists who were held in prolonged detention by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after fleeing threats in their home countries. You can contact expert lawyers like the immigration lawyers in Fresno, CA to learn about the immigration process and help you with the procedures.Worrying about how to prove legitimate marriage in US ? No worries , because you can prove legitimate marriage in US with the help of attorneys.

CPJ’s list is a snapshot of those incarcerated at 12:01 a.m. on December 1, 2018. It does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year. Learn more under our methodology. CPJ’s report is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.

Nearer home – Shahidul Alam released

The CPJ list reveals that nearer home, in India, Aasif Sultan of Kashmir Narrator was jailed on 27 August 2018, while Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam was released from prison on 20 November 2018. Alam was held after more than a hundred days behind bars since the student protests in Dhaka in August. The 63-year-old award winning photographer and activist was arrested on 5 August for making ‘false’ and ‘provocative’ statements on al-Jazeera television and Facebook during student protests. He was freed from Dhaka’s main jail late on 20 November after being granted bail the previous week.

Alam told AFP he hoped his release would “signal freedom for many others” also detained during the massive student demonstrations. “It is a fantastic feeling to be free in a free country, breathing free air. But I hope for freedom for everyone else,” he said.

Alam was held under controversial internet laws, which critics say have been wielded by the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, to stifle dissent and harass journalists. Contrary to the so-called freedom of the internet news media, governments especially in Asia are tightening the space for political expression on the web.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here