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Stop Jailing Journalists!

Stop Jailing Journalists!

The numbers are staggering - more than 500 journalists were arrested last year, simply for doing their jobs. Even more extraordinary are the personal stories of endurance, pain and determination of the men and women arrested and imprisoned.

Newspapers around the globe will be able to tell those stories on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May. The World Association of Newspapers is once again offering a package of interviews, articles, essays, infographics and advertisements to publish on 3 May to commemorate the sacrifices their colleagues make every day. The materials, some of which are now available, can be downloaded, free of charge, at .

The theme of the 2006 campaign is "Don't Lock Up Information: Stop Jailing Journalists".

Contributors include:

- Raul Rivero, who writes about his own Œhell¹ of spending two years behind bars in Cuba, describing the cases of his colleagues who remain in prison, and the current state of journalism in Cuba.

- Massoumeh Shafii , wife of jailed Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji, who talks about the impact of imprisonment on the families of jailed journalists. Akbar Ganji, the 2006 laureate of the WAN Golden Pen of Freedom, was recently freed from to six years in prison.

- Burmese journalist San San Nwe, who writes a personal essay about her jailed colleague, U Win Tin, and the impact that attention from the international community had on their cases. San San Nwe, who was released from prison after seven years , and U Win Tin, who has been incarcerated 16 years, are co-laureates of the 2001 WAN Golden Pen of Freedom.

- Pius Njawe, one of Africa's most prominent journalists, who has been arrested 126 times, writes about his experience as a journalist in Cameroon, the personal demons he fights for not having been able to protect his family during his imprisonment, and his views on the profession after more than three decades as an editor.

- Cary Hung, editor of the New York-based Chinese Democracy Forum, who writes about jailed Chinese journalist Shi Tao and the dangers of putting business interests ahead of freedom of _expression. Hung was the recipient of the e-mail that Shi Tao sent about propaganda instructions that the Chinese government imposed on newspapers on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Shi Tao was arrested and jailed after Yahoo passed on his account details to the Chinese authorities.

- Author Hamid Skif, who writes about what happens when the international community turns its back on journalists who are suffering extreme repression highlighting the case of Abdullah Ali al-Sanussi al-Darrat, who was jailed in Libya in 1973. There has been no word on his condition, where he is being held or whether he is still alive. No other journalist has been imprisoned longer.

In addition, the package includes:

- Online protest letters and a list of the more than 500 journalists who were arrested last year.

- Two videos created by the Swedish Beckmans School of Design, focusing on jailed journalists. The videos are being offered to broadcasters and newspapers, which are encouraged to use them on their web sites.

- Infographics on the number of journalists killed and jailed, and editorial cartoons on press freedom themes.

- Public service advertisements, produced by leading agencies, to help raise awareness about the importance of press freedom to society.

Most of the materials are now available in English and will be added in French, Spanish and German in coming days; check back for updates. WAN is encouraging newspapers and web sites to publish the materials on 3 Day -- go to

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 73 national newspaper associations, newspapers and newspaper executives in 102 countries, 11 news agencies and nine regional and world-wide press groups.

© Scoop Media

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