CPJ census – new annual record for jailed journalists in 2022

CPJ documents 363 reporters put behind bars till 1 December 2022

7 Indian journalists in prison-700Web | CPJ
The seven Indian journalists still in prison Source CPJ Report December 2022

As many as 363 journalists are currently imprisoned across the globe as of 1 December 2022, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) annual prison census. CPJ is a non-profit organisation that stands for rights of journalists and press freedom world-wide. The past year’s number is 20% higher than the previous year, marking, “another grim milestone in a deteriorating media landscape,” the CPJ commented.

Iran, China, Myanmar, Turkey, and Belarus top the chart in a year marked by conflict, repression and authoritarian political leaders and heads of governments, many of whom support democratic institutions and freedom of expression in name only. According to the CPJ report, there is an increasing trend of repression and criminalization of independent reporting, deploying increasing cruelty to stifle dissenting voices and undermine press freedom.

Sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini in Iran saw nearly 14,000 being jailed in the protests that followed with several media persons arrested. Among 49 journalists imprisoned by Iran’s regime, 22 were women journalists.

Seven Indian journalist remain in jail

According to the CPJ Report, India, with seven journalists in jail, continues to draw criticism over its treatment of the media, in particular its use of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, a preventive detention law, to keep Kashmiri journalists Aasif Sultan, Fahad Shah, and Sajad Gul behind bars after they were granted court-ordered bail in separate cases. CPJ noted that six out of seven journalists are being investigated under the terrorism-related Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Aasif Sultan, a reporter for the Kashmir Narrator in Jammu and Kashmir, has been jailed since 27 August 2018 (4 years 3 months). Initially arrested in a UAPA case, Sultan was rearrested under the PSA in April 2022 after receiving bail in the original case.

Malayalam freelance journalist, Siddique Kappan, was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police on 5 October 2020 and has been in jail for 27 months. Although the Supreme Court granted him bail in the alleged larger conspiracy case related to protests against the Hathras rape, Kappan still remains in jail due to a money laundering case.

Freelance journalist and activist Gautam Navlakha, arrested by the Pune Police on 14 April 2020 in the Elgar Parishad case spent more than 30 months in jail before the Supreme Court ordered that he should be put under house arrest.

Manan Dar, another freelance journalist, was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir on October 10, 2021. Dar is accused of involvement in a ‘militant conspiracy’ case, and has so far spent one year and three months in jail.

Sajad Gul of the Kashmir Walla has been in jail since January this year. He was first arrested for tweeting a video of a protest. After he got bail in the case, he was detained under the PSA.

Fahad Shah, also of the Kashmir Walla, was arrested in February 2022 after the army accused him of spreading fake news regarding an event at a school. Subsequently two more cases were filed against Shah who was given bail in two cases by a local court in December 2022. However, as with many of the journalists arrested in India, he remains imprisoned because of another case.

Rupesh Kumar Singh, a freelance journalist in Jharkhand, was arrested in July 2022 under the UAPA. Two other cases were filed against him later.

The CPJ report can be accessed here.

To access the databse of all journalists imprisoned in 2022 click here.

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

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