This protest from the New York Times was a powerful reminder of the importance of press freedoms and the potential impact that the trial of the Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt could have.
NGOs and governments alike have spent the last 24 horus urging the Egyptian government to free the Al Jazeera staff who have been on trial for charges including belonging to and aiding a terrorist organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood, and of “manipulating” images to suggest “there is a civil war that threatens to bring down the [Egyptian] state”.
The charges have long been rejected by Al Jazeera and have been condemned as a clamp down on free press by human rights groups.
It is with great sadness then that I read that the journalists have been jailed for 7-10 years.
Responding to the news, Amnesty International described the verdict as “an absolute affront to justice“. The Guardian quickly published an article that condemned the verdict as:
“a shocking blow to the principle of free speech“
Perhaps the strongest condemnation was reserved for Al Jazeera English’s managing director Al Anstey who said the verdicts defied “logic, sense, and any semblance of justice”.
As a passionate defender of freedom of speech, Hynd’s Blog stands in solidarity with all those calling for the release of the Al Jazeera staff. This verdict is not just an affront on these journalists but to the principle of good journalism and freedom of speech. It is a tacit acknowledgement that anyone could be arrested for simply doing their job and reporting the news!
- Follow the hashtag #FreeAJStaff on twitter for the latest information