IWMF Calls for Global Attention on Detainment of Women Journalists

A new annual summary from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) confirms an alarming reality: Journalist detention is at a record high, with 533 journalists globally currently detained in relation to their work. 78 current detainees are women – a 30 percent increase from 2021.

Among the highest jailers of journalists is China, with 110 journalists currently detained, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, with 47 current detainees. The IWMF is grateful to RSF for highlighting the cases of women journalists in these countries, for whom the IWMF has been advocating throughout the year.

Chinese journalist Xueqin (Sophia) Huang, who reported on political corruption and China’s #MeToo movement, is the recipient of IWMF’s 2022 Wallis Annenberg Justice for Women Journalists Award. Sophia was forcibly disappeared in by Chinese authorities in September 2021 with no further information available.

In Iran, journalists Nilufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi were among the first journalists arrested in relation to reporting on the death of Mahsa Amini in custody. Nilufar and Elahe are both facing the death penalty; the IWMF called for their release in October 2022.

We know all too well that authoritarian crackdowns on press freedom often target women journalists – both because of their work and their gender. These detentions are brazen attempts to silence women’s voices and prevent power from being held to account.

We cannot sit idly by while women journalists’ lives and livelihoods are attacked. The IWMF calls on global governments, advocates, and organizations to join our efforts to reverse this trend by bolstering press freedom and protecting women’s voices in the news media.