Obama speaks out in support of press freedom

US president makes specific references to journalists who risk their liberty to report in places such as Egypt.

Last updated: 04 May 2014 10:06
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
'Our thoughts are with those ... who risk everything to report the news,' Obama said on Saturday [AP]

The US President Barack Obama has spoken in support of press freedom in countries including Egypt, where four Al Jazeera staff have been imprisoned by authorities.

Obama was speaking at the annual White House Correspondents' dinner in Washington DC on Saturday, which coincided with World Press Freedom Day.

"Our thoughts are with those who are in places like Ukraine and Aghanistan and Syria and Egypt who risk everything and in some cases their lives to report the news," Obama told 2,000 guests at the event.

The dinner is traditionally marked by the US president making self-deprecating remarks and jokes at the expense of political opponents and media personalities.

While Obama did not directly mention the Al Jazeera journalists being held in Egypt, the case has achieved international attention after a social media campaign.

All four journalists appeared before Egyptian judges on Saturday.

Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste and Mohammed Fahmy, from the Doha-based network's English channel, were denied bail and their case was adjourned until May 15.

They face charges of spreading false news and working with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation which has been banned in the country.

In a separate hearing, Al Jazeera Arabic's Abdullah El Shamy, was told he would spend another 45 days in detention. He has been in prison for more than 262 days without charge, and has been on hunger strike for more than a 100 days in protest.

Al Jazeera rejects all charges and accusations against its staff.


Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.