WASHINGTON, DC – The National Press Club lent its voice today to a worldwide appeal for Egyptian authorities to release all jailed journalists, including four from Al Jazeera who have been imprisoned for months.
“Journalism is not a crime–not in Egypt, not anywhere,” National Press Club President Myron Belkind said. “We call upon the Egyptian government to ensure that these journalists, and all others imprisoned essentially for just doing their jobs, are released promptly.”
Three of the Al Jazeera journalists–Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed–have been detained since Dec. 29. They are among a group of news media workers accused of belonging to a “terrorist organization, disturbing public peace, instilling terror, harming the general interests of the country, possessing broadcast equipment without permit, possessing and disseminating images contrary to the truth.” A fourth Al Jazeera employee, Abdullah Al Shamy, has been detained without charge for more than six months. The journalists are being held not only against their will but in harsh conditions, according to reports.
Egypt was the third deadliest destination in the world for the press last year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. And the government in Cairo has recently cracked down more on reporting that it does not like.
Al Jazeera has organized a worldwide “Day of Action” to support the jailed journalists. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/583/945/591/freeajstaff-release-detained-al-jazeera-journalists/
The Twitter hashtag for the cause is #FreeAJstaff.
The National Press Club, based in Washington, D.C., is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Press Freedom Committee, the Club advocates on behalf of press freedom and transparency in the United States and beyond.