How press freedom and free speech came under attack worldwide in 2020 | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

How press freedom and free speech came under attack worldwide in 2020 | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Last December 22, my first piece for the Hong Kong Free Press was published. Titled The World is Watching, thanks to Hong Kong’s dedicated photojournalists, it looked back at the outstanding work of photojournalists in documenting the 2019 protests, and the free press issues they faced while doing it.

Now as 2020 comes to an end, the world has become an even more dangerous place for journalists. The free press and freedom of speech are under attack around the globe. Even some places that were once thought of as safe havens have become much less so.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that 2020 has seen record numbers of journalists being jailed worldwide. As of December 1, it reports at least 274 journalists behind bars, beating the 272 recorded in 2016. It is also the fifth consecutive year that at least 250 journalists have been in jail. China leads the list in 2020 for the second year in succession with 47 journalists behind bars, followed by Turkey with 37, Egypt with 27 and Saudi Arabia with 24.

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