World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Irony-laden World Press Freedom Day for Al Jazeera detainees

Irony-laden World Press Freedom Day for Al Jazeera detainees in Cairo


• Decision due on May 3rd whether to free Al Jazeera Arabic reporter or extend his nearly 9-month detention without charge

• Al Jazeera English trio due in court for seventh hearing

• Detainees publish letters of gratitude for the support they've received

• Mohammed Fahmy honoured with Press Freedom Award at the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom

Amongst all the important activity on May 3rd, World Press Freedom Day, there will be none more ironic than the legal proceedings against Al Jazeera's journalists in Cairo.

The Egyptian prosecutor will decide on this day whether to free Al Jazeera Arabic's Abdullah Elshamy, or further extend his detention without charge. Elshamy has been held without charge since August 14th last year, and is on hunger strike in protest amidst growing concerns for his health.

On the same day will be the next court hearing for Al Jazeera English's Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed.

To mark World Press Freedom Day, the trio have sent open letters expressing their gratitude for the continuous support by all calling for their release.

Peter Greste in his letter says the world should acknowledge the need to defend media freedoms:

"We must also acknowledge that on this day and for the past few months, press freedom is being vigorously defended, and in a way that would have been unimaginable before our arrest. We have seen countless protests around the world, an extraordinary online campaign, petitions, news conferences and appeals that together have been unprecedented in the struggle to protect press freedom. We are of course deeply moved and strengthened by the outpouring of support, but we also understand that this isn't just about the three of us. Our case has become emblematic of the freedom of the press world wide. If by arresting us, the government sought to send a message to journalists both foreign and local working here, then the campaign for our release has sent an unequivocal response. And it is one that is being heard everywhere".

Mohammed Fahmy who on World Press Freedom Day will be honoured as the 16th winner of the Press Freedom Award by the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF), welcomed the award but also said they will not be silenced:

"When the journalist becomes the story rather than reporting it, you ask yourself why this happened and who is responsible for detaining you in the terrorism wing of Egypt’s most notorious prison. To silence me and my colleagues on the pretext that we are a threat to national security and members of a terrorist organization is a sheer insult to the intelligence of Egyptian people and the democracy promoted in the newly ratified constitution".

Mohammed Fahmy also admired the courage of Abdullah Elshamy who is on day 104 of his hunger strike:

"Among those freedom fighters is Abdullah ElShamy, the Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent who has been on hunger strike for weeks and lost more than 30 kilograms. His detention for almost 9 months without even standing trial is a breach of human rights. I see no better occasion than today to remind the world about the plight of these men and that there are dozens of respected local Egyptian reporters and citizen journalists who are suffering in prison awaiting trial. They are simply prisoners of conscience!"

Al Jazeera's Director General, Dr. Mostefa Souag will be delivering a speech at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris defending the rights of journalists worldwide, and saying Egypt should release all detained journalists.

Calls for the release of the Al Jazeera staff have been made from the White House, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the European Union. Similarly public calls of support for the #FreeAJStaff campaign have been made from prominent media personalities with over 60,000 people supporting the #FreeAJStaff campaign which has had over 1.2 billion impressions on twitter. Various media freedom and human rights groups have also issued statements ranging from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Press Institute, Amnesty International and Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa.

Al Jazeera has produced a video marking World Press Freedom Day which is supported by twenty NGOs including UNESCO, INSI, CPJ HRW and the IPI. It can be viewed here http://youtu.be/rKID8jpH1Jc


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Announces Mission To Combat Ebola

Ebola outbreak: a peacekeeper with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) wears a protective mask while on duty at UN offices in the capital city of Monrovia. UN Photo/Andrey Tsarkov More>>

Syria: Life-Saving Food Aid In Jeopardy For Millions Of Syrians

18 September 2014 – The United Nations World Food Programme ( WFP ) today warned that it is running out of funds to provide food for almost 6 million Syrians receiving its life-saving assistance. More>>

UN Warns: Hundreds Of Yemeni Families In Need Of Aid

Two displaced girls stand in front of the classroom where their family has been living in Aden, Yemen. Photo: UNHCR/P. Rubio Larrauri More>>

Ukraine: Victim "Tortured By Russian-Sponsored Militants"

GENEVA, September 17, 2014 – Irina Dovgan, a Ukrainian woman who made international headlines after she was publicly abused by Russian-sponsored militants in eastern Ukraine, testified today before the UN Human Rights Council. More>>

Gaza: Detention Conditions Of Palestinians Arrested By Israelis

PCHR Follows up Detention Conditions of Palestinians Arrested by Israeli Forces in Latest Offensive on the Gaza Strip More>>


UN: ‘Heinous’ Murder Of British Aid Worker By Islamic Militants

A wide view of the Security Council in session (file photo). UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras More>>

ALSO:

UN: Nuclear Programmes Of DPR Korea, Iran Remain Serious Concern

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano (left) delivers his introductory statement at the Board of Governors Meeting in Vienna, Austria. Photo: IAEA/Dean Calma More>>

Libya: Closer To Brink Of Protracted Conflict And Strife

Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Léon. UN Photo/Evan Schneider More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news