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
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.