Countries With The Most Jailed Journalists

Turkey and China had the highest number of journalists being held in prisons in 2017.

Journalists are often thrown in jail in different parts of the world. The reasons behind how journalists find themselves in jail varies from situation to situation. The main reason most journalists find their way to jails is due to exposing the evil activities of the government and prominent people in the society, mostly the politicians. The other reason could be exposing hidden secrets of politicians and the government. About 262 journalists were put behind bars in 2017. But which countries have detained the most journalists?

Countries with the Most Jailed Journalists


Topping the list is Turkey with 73 journalists put behind bars in 2017. Some of the Turkish Journalists have been issued house arrest. Others have been put behind bars because of the "toxic" posts that they had put on social media. The most targeted journalists are the investigative and critical journalists who expose “confidential news” to the public. In extreme cases, some journalists in the country have been assassinated. Despite releasing some of the journalists in 2017, Turkey still remains the country with the highest number of Journalist in the world.


China sent 41 journalists to jail in 2017, the second highest number after Turkey. Most of the journalists were arrested, detained, jailed for revealing state secrets and exposing things the government wanted to keep from the general public. For instance, Yang Xiuqiong was arrested and charged for revealing the state’s secrets overseas.


A total of 20 journalists were put behind bars in Egypt in 2017. An Egyptian journalist, Abdulla Rashad, mysteriously disappeared and the government has been accused of his disappearance. A number of bloggers have also been put behind bars.The most popular case of infringement of the rights of journalists in Egypt is the detention of an investigative reporter named Hossam Bahgat, who questioned the competence and intelligence of the military through as article he wrote. He was released after he was forced to agree that he would not write about the military beyond a specific set boundary.


Eritrea is ranked fourth on the list of countries with the highest number of jailed journalists. Currently, 15 journalists are confined to prisons across the country. A few other bloggers and journalist have also been silenced by the authorities. Some of the jailed journalists in Eritrea are Idris Abba Arre and Seyoum Tsehaye. Most of the journalists are behind bars without undergoing trial.

Protecting Journalists from Arrest and Intimidation

Clearly, arrest and intimidation of journalists is a trend that needs countered. It is not only infringing on the rights of the journalists but also on the freedom of the press. Different measures have been put in place to counter the arrest and harassment of journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) was founded with an aim of protecting the right of journalists. The movement criticizes the government that wrongfully arrest journalists for merely doing their work. It organizes demonstrations meant to criticize the governments, pressure them to release arrested journalists and sensitize the general public, and the journalist about on rights. Reporters without Borders in Egypt wrote an open letter to the President of Egypt and asked him to order for the release of the jailed journalists.

Countries With The Most Jailed Journalists

RankCountryJailed Journalists
8Saudi Arabia7

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