Press Freedom Day: a few reflections
Where generations meet online

Make the Press Freedom day a Freedom of Speech day

Johan Norberg suggests the Press Freedom Day should be made a Freedom of Speech day. I couldn't agree more. This debate from the Frontline Club in London really illustrates why (thanks to Kevin Anderson for live blogging it).

During the debate, Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd-Fatah summed of the worrying situation for bloggers AND journalists in Egypt: "It looks grim. There are two bloggers in jail. There have been several bloggers taken by security. This is not new. This is normal. It happens to journalists all the time. It happens to activists all the time. We are now worried that the government is attacking the medium itself. With the religious taboos, there are many who are looking to limit freedom of speech. We see people who are being sent to jail. It is difficult to say if this is a trend that will continue. It is having a chilling effect at the moment."

This resonates with a report David Dadge of the International Press Institute gave on the state of press freedom globally on the World Press Freedom day: in many countries the authorites are heavily censoring bloggers and journalists alike - and journalists are increasingly seen as partial, which makes them legitimate targets in wars and conflicts.

So here's a few links to campaigns worth supporting, though there are of course a great many more bloggers and journalists in jail, held hostage or being persecuted than the three mentioned here:

BBC's Alan Johnston held hostage in Palestine
Alan Johnston banner

Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer
(English translations of the writings that put him in prison here)

Abdel-Monem Mahmoud, a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has spoken out in favour of Kareem, but has himself been imprisoned and, among other things, accused of “associating with human rights organization in an effort to soil the image of the regime.”

(In contrast to Johan, though, I do think the idea that the medium is the message holds some merit)


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