Committee to Protect Journalists reveals dramatic increase in imprisoned freelancers

Wednesday, 09 December 2009 Written by Rory Peck Trust

Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide - a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced yesterday.

Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced yesterday.

In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ found a total of 136 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of 11 from the 2008 tally.  At least 60 of these are freelance journalists, nearly double the number from just three years ago.

CPJ research shows the number of jailed freelancers has grown along with two trends: the Internet has enabled individual journalists to publish on their own, and some news organizations, watchful of costs, rely increasingly on freelancers rather than staffers for international coverage.

Freelance journalists are especially vulnerable to imprisonment because they often do not have the legal and monetary support that news organizations can provide to staffers.

“The days when journalists went off on dangerous assignments knowing they had the full institutional weight of their media organizations behind them are receding into history,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

“Today, journalists on the front lines are increasingly working independently. The rise of online journalism has opened the door to a new generation of reporters, but it also means they are vulnerable.”

Read CPJ’s full report here

Find out how we help freelance journalists and their families

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