Paris streets renamed by press freedom advocates

Reporters Without Borders temporarily name streets after journalists subjected to crimes on international campaign day.

    Paris streets renamed by press freedom advocates
    The 12 renamed streets were those with embassies of countries where journalists have been the victims of unpunished crimes [RSF/YouTube]

    Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has staged an unusual protest in Paris, renaming several streets after journalists who have been murdered, tortured or disappeared.

    The organisation covered regular street signs with their own on Monday to mark the UN-initiated International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

    The 12 renamed streets were those with embassies of countries where journalists have been the victims of unpunished crimes. 

    One street was named after Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in Islamabad four years ago.

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    At the Eritrean embassy, activists put up a sign saying "Dawit Isaak street" in reference to a Swedish-Eritrean journalist who has been held in Eritrea without trial since 2001.

    At the Bahraini embassy, a sign was put up in the name of Nazeeha Saeed, saying she was tortured in 2011.

    'Terrible symbols of passivity'

    "The cases of impunity that we are presenting are terrible symbols of passivity or deliberate inaction on the part of certain governments," RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said.

    "This International Day is an occasion for paying homage to the victims and for reminding governments of their obligation to protect journalists and to combat impunity.

    "Those who target journalists will one day be held to account for their actions."

    OPINION: End impunity for murderers of journalists now

    The UN General Assembly in 2013 proclaimed November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

    The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on November 2, 2013.

    Hundreds killed

    Approximately 700 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in the past decade.


    Eritrea has been ranked the worst country for press freedom by RSF for the past seven years.

    The group says the country systematically violates freedom of expression and information, with at least 16 journalists currently detained - some of them held incommunicado for years.

    Other countries where journalists are especially under threat include Syria, which was the world's deadliest country for journalists in 2014, and Mexico, where 50 journalists have been killed since 2010 

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    Al Jazeera is looking to draft an international declaration for the protection of journalists in cooperation with organisations such as the International Press Institute, International News Safety Institute and the Africa Media Initiative.

    "It is very important that media institutions, human rights organisations and all civil society organisations engage together," Hassan Saeed Elmogummer Taha of the Al Jazeera Public Liberties and Human Rights Centre said on Monday, as human rights activists and journalists staged a solidarity event in Doha, Qatar.

    Three Al Jazeera journalists have been freed this year after spending more than a year imprisoned in Egypt. 

    Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste were accused of spreading "false news" during their coverage of demonstrations, protesting against the military overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

    Al Jazeera and the journalists have always strenuously denied the charges.

    Baher Mohamed will be on the live-streaming app Periscope on November 4 to answer questions about life in an Egyptian prison and what comes next for him.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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