By Catherine Taibi, 04/21/2015, The Huffington Post
CPJ listed the countries as part of their annual “Attacks on the Press” publication. Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Iran, China, Myanmar and Cuba finished up the list. The full report will be released April 27.
There were 221 journalists jailed worldwide in 2014, according to CPJ’s prision census. Eritrea is close to leading that list as well, with 23 journalists known to be imprisoned in the country. China is currently the wolrd’s worst jailer of journalists, with 44 journalists in jail as of last year.
While China’s crackdown on press freedom receives heavy media attention, China sits at only No. 8 on the overall list. Many of the countries with worse circumstances are much less reported on, such as Azerbaijan, which jails bloggers, raids media offices and will sentence someone up to six months on defamation charges for a social media post.
And Eritrea is even worse. President Isaias Afewerki’s crusade against independent media has led to an environment “so oppressive that even reporters for state-run news outlets live in constant fear of arrest,” CPJ wrote.
In North Korea — where cell phones are banned — most of what you read likely came from the same source. Just about everything in the country’s 12 top newspapers, 20 periodicals and big broadcasters comes from the Korean Central News Agency, CPJ reported.
Saudi Arabia continues to pass and amend laws that threaten press freedom, viewing any expression of criticism of the government as a criminal act. In Vietnam, the sixth most censored country, journalists are often put under government surveillance to make sure they do not report on certain issues.