There are currently at least 251 journalists imprisoned around the world, 10 of whom in Azerbaijan, according to the 2018 annual global survey of press freedom watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The report, published on 13 December, notes that press freedom has been under continued global attack for the third consecutive year, suggesting that authoritarian crackdowns and the jailing of journalists have become ‘the new normal’.
As in 2017 and 2016, Turkey holds the sad record of the world’s worst jailer of journalists, even though the number of imprisoned journalists slightly decreased this year, with 68 currently behind bars. Together with China, where 47 journalists are imprisoned, and Egypt, which jailed at least 25 journalists, this makes up for more than half of all imprisoned journalists across the globe
The ten journalists currently imprisoned in Azerbaijan were all arrested between May 2012 and November 2018, six of them during the last two years alone.
Eight of the journalists serve prison sentences of two to eight years, while two are in 30 days of administrative arrest and two month detention pending investigation, respectively.
More than half of them reportedly suffer from health problems. Out of the seven journalists sentenced to more than three years in prison, only three have served more than half of their sentence.
According to CPJ, they worked on corruption, followed by human rights, politics and culture. Their charges include hooliganism, bribery and extortion, defamation as well as drug possession.