WAN-IFRA’s focus in the build up to this year’s 3 May, World Press Freedom Day has been on journalists imprisoned for their work. www.worldpressfreedomday.org gives a vivid picture of just a handful of the more than 200 journalists who were persecuted simply for doing their job in 2013.
WAN-IFRA’s position is clear: no journalist should be imprisoned because of his or her work. Wherever they are jailed, we call for their immediate release.
For 3 May itself, we draw particular attention to our 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom laureate, Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega. Sentenced in 2011 to 18 years in jail on terrorism related charges, Eskinder has been a constant voice of opposition in Ethiopia and as a result was frequently punished for his writing. His crime? Having dared to hope for a better life for his fellow countrymen and women.
Through this dedicated website, as well as the many links to the global effort calling for his release, we hope to provide a snapshot of Eskinder the journalist, Eskinder the man, and Eskinder the father.
Above all, we aim to draw your attention to the story that lies behind the headline, to provide you with more than just a statistic. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ latest prison census there were 211 jailed journalists in 2013, and while Eskinder may only be one of them, his story is symptomatic of a world that continues to criminalise journalists for their brave attempts to hold power to account.
We encourage you to publish information about Eskinder and to share his story far and wide. We invite you to explore the reasons behind why so many journalists like him are jailed for their critical opinions, and to remember the sacrifice made by countless others when you next sit down for your daily news fix.
“Why should the rest of the world care? Horace said it best: ‘mutate nomine detefabula narrator.’ ‘Change only the name and this story is also about you.’ Whenever justice suffers, our common humanity suffers too.”
Eskinder Nega, ‘I Shall Persevere’, a letter from prison, 2013
More than anything, we appeal to you to use your media, online platforms and social networks - the power you have as an influencer in your own community – for the benefit of a courageous man who still hopes for a better world. Demand the liberation of Eskinder Nega and all journalists behind bars this 3 May.