Journalism Under Fire

Continued support for jailed Al Jazeera staff

As the months roll on support for the release of four Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt continues around the world.

Last updated: 01 Jun 2014 13:18
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The detainment of four Al Jazeera journalists has catalysed an ongoing call to action for those who support press freedom around the world.

Al Jazeera's Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste and Abdullah Elshamy have been held for several months by Egyptian authorities, despite the global outcry calling for their release.

Fahmy, Baher and Greste were detained on December 29, 2013, and have been accused of aiding the now banned Muslim Brotherhood and spreading "false news". Charges have yet to be announced against Elshamy, who has been detained since August 14, 2013, and on hunger strike since January 20. Al Jazeera denies all charges against its staff.

Despite the crackdown on press freedoms, a community of journalists has been extremely vocal about the injustices committed against the imprisoned Al Jazeera staff. Following is a listing of some of the campaigns and statements of support carried out and issued in support of freeing Al Jazeera's journalists:


Who: US Senator John McCain

When: January 21, 2014

What: Senator McCain condemns the detention of Al Jazeera's journalists, calling their treatment "a clear violation" of their human rights.

Who: Al Jazeera

When: February 4, 2014

What: Al Jazeera begins a twitter campaign featuring journalists and supporters taping their mouths and holding a sign with the hashtag #FreeAJStaff. The campaign went viral, causing millions to imagine a world where all journalists are gagged.

Nairobi-based foreign correspondents call for the release of Peter Greste, who was based in the Kenyan capital  [EPA]

Who: Nairobi-based journalists

When: February 2, 2014

What: Reporters take to the streets to call for the release of Greste, who has reported extensively on Africa and is based out of Nairobi for Al Jazeera English.

Who: The White House

When: February 4, 2014

What: The White House condemns the imprisonment of journalists in Egypt and calls for the release of Al Jazeera staff.

Who: Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression

When: February 6, 2014

What: Canadian Journalists start a petition, hoping to get 10,000 signatures by June 1 to represent the right of journalists to work without prosecution.


Who: Al Jazeera

When: February 27, 2014

What: Al Jazeera called for a Global Day of Action for Press Freedom, journalists and supporters in more than 30 cities demonstrated outside Egyptian embassies in support of the jailed Al Jazeera journalists.


Who: The Stream

When: February 27, 2014

What: The Stream organised a Thunderclap, a social media service that simultaneously tweets a message from a large number of users who have signed on. The result had a reach of 3,026,302 twitter users worldwide.


Who: CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, ITN’s Mark Austin and Julie Etchingham, Channel 7 Australia’s Mark Ferguson, and Al Jazeera English’s Shiulie Ghosh

When: March 23, 2014

What: Top journalists from around the world joined Al Jazeera to produce a video explaining the need for global press freedom.

Who: Columbia School of Journalism

When: April 7, 2014

What: The Dart Center at the Columbia School of Journalism hosted a symposium of veteran journalists discussing the human rights implications of journalism specifically regarding the continued detainment of Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt.

Who: Amnesty International (Australia)

When: May 1, 2014

What: Amnesty International Australia launched a petition, aiming for 25,000 signatures to “immediately and unconditionally release” the journalists, including Australian Peter Greste.

Who: Al Jazeera

When: May 3, 2014

What: International Press Freedom Day was sombrely recognised by journalists and organisations as the number of journalists detained, arrested and killed in recent years has only increased. Al Jazeera campaigned to show the injustices being committed against their jailed staff in Egypt.


Who: US Congress

When: May 14, 2014

What: 13 members of Congress signed a letter to Egyptian interim President Adly Mansour, one signee said adding his name "was the right thing".


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