Free the Press! Release all jailed journalists on World Press Freedom Day – IFEX

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:

  1. Avaz Zeynally, Azerbaijan
  2. Ahmed Humaidan, Bahrain
  3. Ilham Tohti, China
  4. Mahmoud Abou Zeid, Egypt
  5. Dawit Isaac, Eritrea
  6. Reeyot Alemu, Ethiopia
  7. Siamak Ghaderi, Iran
  8. Fusün Erdoğan, Turkey
  9. Muhammad Bekjanov, Uzbekistan
  10. 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.

Free the Press! Release all jailed journalists on World Press Freedom Day – IFEX.


E.P.R.D.F.: Exploiter of Compulsory Duty. By Reeyot Alemu



By Reeyot Alemu | Reproduced with kind permission of the International Women’s Media Foundation

This article, first published in June 2011, is one of the last columns Reeyot Alemu wrote before her arrest on June 21, 2011.

Translated from Amharic, courtesy of the Media Legal Defence Initiative.

Reeyot Alemu is currently serving a 5-year prison sentence in Addis Ababa on bogus terrorism charges. The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) honored Alemu with its 2012 Courage in Journalism Award last year, and in May 2013, the UNESCO recognized her “commitment to freedom of expression” with its Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

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As stories about the political crisis in Cairo have been dominating the news from Egypt, there has been limited coverage on a brewing international conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia – two countries that do not share a border but are indivisibly connected by the Nile, the world’s longest river. Continue reading “E.P.R.D.F.: Exploiter of Compulsory Duty. By Reeyot Alemu”

World’s Press calls for immediate release of Ethiopia’s jailed journalists

The World AssociatWAN-IFRA logoion of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum have condemned the continued imprisonment of Ethiopian journalists under the country’s Anti-Terror Proclamation — including the 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom laureate Eskender Nega — and have called for their immediate release.Free Reeyot

In a letter to Prime Minster, Hailemariam Desalegn, the global press organisations called on the Ethiopian authorities to unconditionally release Eskinder Nega, and four other journalists:  Solomon Kebede, Wubset Taye, Reyot Alemu and Yusuf Getachew. All are serving jail sentences through the misuse of Ethiopia’s anti-terror legislation.

Eskinder Nega, a publisher, journalist and blogger serving an 18-year jail sentence, was last week awarded the 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of WAN-IFRA that recognises the outstanding action, in writing or deed, of an individual, a group or an institution in the cause of press freedom.

In its letter to the Prime Minister, WAN-IFRA urged Ethiopian authorities to end the misuse of anti-terror legislation to jail journalists and those critical of the government, saying the practice was unwarranted and violated international protocols, includEskendring the Vienna Declaration on Terrorism, Media and the Law.

It called on the Prime Minister to immediately release Mr Nega, in accordance with international standards of human rights and freedom of expression, and to allow him  to receive the Golden Pen of Freedom in person at the World Newspaper Congress in Torino, Italy, on 9 June 2014.

The full letter can be read at:

The protest campaign follows an international mission held in November 2013 with the International Press Institute (IPI), where the two press freedom organisations were denied access to visit journalists in jail and had their requests to meet with members of the government left unanswered.  The international mission also called for the immediate release of the jailed journalists.

The full report from the international press freedom mission can be found at

WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.

Inquiries to: 

Larry Kilman, Deputy CEO and Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis, rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 07. Fax: +33 1 42 78 92 33. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: