World Press Freedom Day 2007

5 May

Events are held world-wide to support Alan Johnston, the kidnapped BBC journalist in Gaza, to coincide with World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May. Journalists hold vigils in London, China and Indonesia calling for the release of Mr Johnston, who has been missing for more than seven weeks.

While the status of Alan remains unsolved, the safety and security of journalists and even bloggers in some authoritarian regimes persist. In Azerbaijan, Chief Editor, Muhammad Samir Sadagatoglu and journalist Rafik Tagi, of the Senet weekly newspaper were both sentenced to four and three years imprisonment on 4th May for defaming and insulting Islam. An Al Jazeera journalist was also sentenced to six months in prison in absentia in Egyptian for producing a film highlighting police torture. A blogger, Abdel Kareem Soliman has also been sentenced to jail for criticising the country’s top Islamic institution, al-Azhar university and for calling President Hosni Mubarak a dictator.

According to Aidan White, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), last year saw one of the worst with targeting, brutality and continued impunity in the killing of journalists.

An Amnesty International press release on Press Freedom Day states that, “at least 64 journalists and media workers were reported killed in 2006” in Iraq while in Mexico, at least 11 journalists have been killed since last year.

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