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CHINA AND CUBA JAIL MOST JOURNALISTS
NEW YORK (Reuters) - China jails more journalists than any other country and, along with Cuba, Eritrea and Myanmar, accounts for more than three quarters of journalists imprisoned around the world, a new report showed on Thursday.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said its annual snapshot of the situation on Dec. 31, 2004, had found 122 journalists imprisoned in 20 countries for practicing their profession, 16 fewer than at the same time a year earlier.
The advocacy group said the list included one U.S. journalist, Jim Taricani, who was sentenced to six months house arrest in December for refusing to reveal the source of a leaked videotape.
For the sixth year in a row, China was the leading jailer of journalists, with 42 imprisoned, followed by Cuba with 23, Eritrea with 17 and Myanmar with 11 behind bars.
"These four countries operate outside the international mainstream," said Ann Cooper, the group's executive director.
The New York-based group picked out the United States for criticism, saying that two other U.S. journalists faced possible federal prison terms linked to their refusal to reveal sources -- Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and Judith Miller of The New York Times .
Both were subpoenaed in a grand jury investigation of whether the Bush administration illegally leaked a covert CIA officer's name to the media. Both have refused to testify about their confidential sources.
"CPJ has condemned the U.S. government's stance and noted that it has sent a terrible message worldwide," it said in a statement.
The CPJ said more than half of those imprisoned worldwide were charged under various "anti-state" laws while other charges ranged from defamation or "insult" to inciting public unrest and spreading "false" news.
"The widespread jailing of journalists is pursued only by those few nations that distrust their own citizens and care little about the opinion of the rest of the world."