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Highest Number Of Imprisoned Journalists Are In China

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in some countries, economic trouble can mean a crackdown on the press. China tops that list, with the largest number of journalists in prison. And it could be, in part, because of China's slowing economy.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That is according to a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Joel Simon is the executive director of that group.

JOEL SIMON: A number of journalists who were jailed in the last year were business reporters who were, you know, reporting on the kinds of things that used to be routine. There's weakness in the economy, and the Communist Party leadership is concerned about this. And they believe the role of the media is to support the policies of the Communist Party.

GREENE: And here's a telling number - of the 199 journalists imprisoned around the world this year, a quarter are in China.

MONTAGNE: Egypt is second, with 23 journalists in jail.

SIMON: That is unprecedented. Egypt has been a country where the controls that have existed on the media have been based on pressure that was a bit more subtle. But now, it's really a more authoritarian structure in which journalists who are accused of associating with the Muslim Brotherhood can be jailed. So that space is closed, really, for critical reporting in Egypt.

MONTAGNE: And this year, Turkey has dropped to fifth on the list, with 14 journalists in jail. It had been number one, but officials released dozens of reporters as an election approached. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.