The press is unpopular right now in the United States. It polls almost as poorly as Congress, according to Gallup.

But for all its weaknesses and failures, it’s still a crucial industry. There are still many good reporters, and many who work hard to hold the powerful accountable.

This is true of media everywhere. Sadly, journalists in foreign countries don’t enjoy the same freedoms as those who report on U.S. soil.

A reported 259 journalists have been jailed around the world in 2016, according to a study published this week by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

This is the largest number recorded by the group since it first started tracking media imprisonments in 1990.

The highest concentration of jailed journalists is in Turkey. Roughly 81 reporters were incarcerated after a coup failed to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

This is “the highest number in any one country at any time,” said the Committee.

The New York Times reported, “The 259 total for 2016 shattered the previous global record of 232 journalists imprisoned in 2012. Last year, 199 journalists were jailed.”

Turkey is not alone in imprisoning journalists. As of Dec. 1, China has jailed at least 38 reporters. Egypt is next with 25. Then there’s Eritrea, which has jailed an estimated 17 reporters. Lastly, there’s Ethiopia, with which has imprisoned 16 journalists.

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As a bright spot, the number of jailed media in Iran has decreased its from 19 to eight. This is the first time since 2008 that Iran failed to crack the top five worst media offenders.

“Nonetheless, the Iranian authorities are still imprisoning journalists for their work. The group cited the example of Keyvan Karimi, a filmmaker who was sentenced in 2015 to six years in prison and 223 lashes for a documentary about political graffiti,” the Times noted.

It’s not a universal truth, but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb: If a journalist is jailed for his reporting, chances are he was doing his job well.

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