World Association of News Publishers

Press Freedom Resolution: Calling for the Release of Golden Pen Laureates and All Jailed Journalists

Press Freedom Resolution: Calling for the Release of Golden Pen Laureates and All Jailed Journalists

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The Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), meeting on 31 May in Washington D.C. during the 67th World News Media Congress, 22nd World Editors Forum and 25th World Advertising Forum, calls for the immediate release of Golden Pen Laureates Gao Yu, Eskinder Nega, Dawit Isaak, and all journalists currently imprisoned simply for doing their jobs.

Chinese journalist Gao Yu was convicted in April on the spurious charges of leaking state secrets and handed a seven-year prison sentence. She has been jailed and held under house arrest repeatedly for her work as a journalist. The 71 year-old Gao Yu was awarded the 1995 WAN-IFRA Golden Pen of Freedom in honour of her courage, self-sacrifice and contribution to the struggle for freedom of expression in China. The Board of WAN-IFRA calls for her immediate release and urges the Chinese authorities to recognise the importance of a free press and the right to freedom of expression.

Sentenced to 18 years in jail on terrorism related charges, Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega has been a constant voice of opposition and as a result frequently punished for his writing. He was arrested in September 2011 after publishing an article criticising the Ethiopian government’s use of anti-terror legislation to jail and silence critics. Arrested and denounced on the false charge of belonging to a terrorist organisation, Eskinder Nega was awarded the 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom in Torino, Italy. The Board of WAN-IFRA calls on the Ethiopian authorities to release Eskinder Nega, and denounces all attempts to misuse anti-terror laws to jail critics and criminalise the profession of journalism.

Dawit Isaak has been imprisoned in Eritrea since 2001. During the majority of his sentence he has been held incommunicado. His whereabouts – or even if he is still alive – are unknown. In 2011, WAN-IFRA awarded Dawit Isaak the Golden Pen of Freedom for his tireless commitment to promoting the independent press in Eritrea and for seeking to serve his country through the profession of journalism. The Board of WAN-IFRA demands his immediate release and calls on the Eritrean government to end its persecution of journalists.

The Board of WAN-IFRA notes with concern the global figure of at least 221 journalists behind bars in 2014. China has jailed at least 44 journalists, Iran 30, Eritrea 23, and Ethiopia 17. The Board therefore urges all states to respect the work of journalists and calls for the immediate release of all those detained for conducting their professional activities.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2015-05-25 11:02

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