The number of journalists jailed around the world increased more than 20% in 2011, mainly because of government crackdowns in the Middle East and North Africa, a nonprofit organization said Thursday.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit group based in New York that promotes press freedom, found that 179 writers, editors and photojournalists were in jail on December 1, up from 145 in 2010.
Iran had the largest number of journalists in detention, with a total of 42, the group said in a report on its annual census of imprisoned journalists.
The organization attributed the number of detainees to the Iranian authorities' "campaign of anti-press intimidation that began after the country's disputed presidential election more than two years ago."
Eritrea held 28 imprisoned journalists, the second highest total, followed closely by China, which had 27.
The organization noted wide disparities among regions.
It said that for the first time since it began compiling its prison survey in 1990, "not a single journalist in the Americas was in jail for work-related reasons on December 1."
Governments in the Middle East and North Africa, meanwhile, had 77 journalists imprisoned, 45% of the global total.FULL STORY