A United States-based watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists, has revealed that 274 journalists were jailed globally in 2020. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the watchdog accused governments worldwide of suppressing the media and fueling misinformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPJ: Police officers detain Sahara Reporters journalist Victor Ogungbenro during a protest in Lagos, Nigeria, on August 5, 2019. Staff at the online newspaper report sustained harassment targeting them and their website.

The annual report by the Committee to Protect Journalists revealed that 274 journalists were imprisoned this year -- the highest number since the non-profit organisation began its survey in the 1990s.

The report also found that 26 journalists and media workers were murdered this year, with Mexico listed as the world's most dangerous country for the press.

CPJ Executive Director, Joel Simon, in a statement, said that it is shocking and appalling. He added that "this wave of repression is a form of censorship that is disrupting the flow of information and fueling the infodemic."

The worst offender was China for the second consecutive year, the survey found, with 47 reporters behind bars and authorities. The country, only last week, detained a Bloomberg employee on suspicion of endangering national security.

Other top jailers are Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with Belarus and Ethiopia — where widespread unrest and armed conflict flared this year — also seeing sharp increases in the number of reporters behind bars.

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