On World Press Freedom Day, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is highlighting 10 emblematic cases of journalists in prison, silenced by authorities in retaliation for their work. CPJ is calling on authorities to release these journalists, as well as all others being held in relation to their work.
Add your voice to this campaign. Send messages of support for jailed journalists with the #FreeThePress hashtag and call on authorities in repressive countries to release all journalists held for no other crime than covering issues in the public interest.
Click here to read more about 10 emblematic cases of journalists in prison and take action to free them:
- Avaz Zeynally, Azerbaijan
- Ahmed Humaidan, Bahrain
- Ilham Tohti, China
- Mahmoud Abou Zeid, Egypt
- Dawit Isaac, Eritrea
- Reeyot Alemu, Ethiopia
- Siamak Ghaderi, Iran
- Fusün Erdoğan, Turkey
- Muhammad Bekjanov, Uzbekistan
- Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay), Vietnam
Uzbek editor Muhammad Bekjanov has been in jail for 15 years, one of the longest imprisonments of journalists worldwide. Prominent Iranian journalist Siamak Ghaderi was imprisoned in 2010 and has been beaten and whipped in custody. Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, serving a 12-year jail term, could barely walk or talk during a prison visit in July 2013, his family said.
Bekjanov, Ghaderi, and Hai were convicted on anti-state charges, an allegation used frequently by authoritarian regimes seeking to silence critical news coverage, according to CPJ. CPJ research has documented a rise in the jailing of journalists since 2000, a year before the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States fueled the global expansion of anti-terrorism and national security laws. Governments have exploited these laws to silence critical journalists covering sensitive issues such as insurgencies, political opposition, and ethnic minorities.
Of the 211 journalists in jail at the time of CPJ’s most recent prison census, 124, or 60 percent, were jailed on anti-state charges—far more than jailed on any other type of charge.