Design and production by Christie Chisholm

One dangerous year

Journalists under threat in 2017

Thirty-four arrests in the US 

At the beginning of last year, the US Press Freedom Tracker began recording all instances of journalists taken into custody.

Seventy-six percent of the journalists arrested in the US in 2017 were apprehended during just three events: protests in St. Louis, Missouri, following the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley; in Washington, DC, during Donald Trump’s inauguration; and at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

SOURCE: The US Press Freedom Tracker, a project launched in 2017 that records press freedom violations in the United States. *Arrest data in the US includes short-term arrests and releases throughout the year.

Please click here to view this data in an interactive slideshow.

Note: The interactive slideshow below only works on laptop and desktop.

Jailings on the rise 

In 2017, the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide hit a record for the second year in a row, with 262 behind bars.

Fifty-one percent of journalists jailed for their work are detained in Turkey, China, or Egypt.

In 2017, at least 42 journalists were killed worldwide in connection to their work. Iraq and Syria top the list as the deadliest places for journalists. Since 1992, at least 186 journalists have been killed in Iraq, more than any other country.


In the crosshairs 

Journalists who cover politics, war, and human rights face the highest risks in the industry. The vast majority who were jailed in the past year worked locally.

*Most journalists cover more than one beat.


On the decline 

With fewer journalists working in conflict zones, the number of journalists killed while covering wars in 2017 dropped for the second consecutive year.


More jailed journalists 

The number of journalists imprisoned in relation to their work continues to reach historic highs.


Freelancers under fire 

Independent journalists account for 75 cases, or 29 percent of all members of the press who were imprisoned in 2017.

Thirty-three percent of the journalists killed in 2017 were independent journalists.


Targeting the news 

A selection of journalists who were killed or in prison for their work in 2017.

Miroslava Breach Velducea
Correspondent, La Jornada
Covered crime, politics

Killed in Chihuahua, Mexico | March 23, 2017

An unknown assailant shot Breach Velducea eight times as she was leaving her home in a car with one of her children. The child was not injured.


Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan)
Freelance photographer
Charged with anti-state | Not sentenced

Imprisoned in Egypt | Aug. 14, 2013

Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, was detained while covering clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.


Javier Valdez Cárdenas
Investigative reporter and editor, RĂ­oDoce
Covered corruption, crime, politics

Killed in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico | May 15, 2017

Shortly after Cárdenas left his office, unknown assailants dragged him out of his car and fatally shot him at least 12 times.


Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé
Freelance reporter
Not charged | Not sentenced

Imprisoned in Equatorial Guinea | Sept. 16, 2017

Ebalé was arrested with two of his friends after leaving a restaurant in Malabo. He was accused of money laundering and counterfeiting. The friends, who are both Spanish nationals, were released.


Abdullah Kılıç
Columnist/Commentator, Meydan
Charged with anti-state | Not sentenced

Imprisoned in Turkey | July 25, 2016

Kiliç was detained as part of a purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. He was accused of maintaining a terrorist organization.


Shifa Zikri Ibrahim (shifa gardi)
Broadcast reporter, Rudaw TV
Covered war

Killed in Mosul, Iraq | Feb. 25, 2017

Gardi was killed by a roadside bomb while her team was investigating a mass grave, alleged to be where ISIS militants had buried hundreds of civilians.


Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Me Nam)
Reporter, Dan Lam Bao
Charged with anti-state | Sentenced to 10+ years

Imprisoned in Vietnam | Oct. 10, 2016

Guynh was arrested while trying to visit an imprisoned political activist. She was accused of being a member of Viêt Tân, an outlawed political party.


Daphne Caruana Galizia
Investigative journalist and blogger
Covered corruption, crime, human rights, politics

Killed in Malta | Oct. 16, 2017

Galizia’s car exploded while she was driving near her home in Bidnija. She had told police prior to her death that she had received death threats in relation to her work on the Panama Papers.


Photos courtesy La Jornada, Freedom For Shawkan Campaign, CPJ/Barbara Nitke, EloĂ­sa Vaello Marco, Jack Forbes, CPJ/Family handout, Matthew Caruana Galizia

SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists. *2017 data as of December 1, does not include journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year. There are 20 additional cases of journalists who were killed in 2017, but CPJ is still investigating whether their deaths related to their work.

Please click here to view this data in an interactive slideshow.

Note: The interactive slideshow below only works on laptop and desktop.

Christie Chisholm, Denise Southwood, and Alexandra Ellerbeck are the authors of this piece. Christie Chisholm is CJR's senior editor. Denise Southwood is CJR's department administrator. Alexandra Ellerbeck is the North America program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists.