The Committee to Protect Journalists today launched the campaign #FreeThePress calling for the unconditional release of all imprisoned journalists to ensure their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the past four years, CPJ’s annual census has found a record number of journalists in prison because of their work, at least 250. Those journalists now face a possible death sentence. The World Health Organization has said that prisoners are particularly vulnerable to the virus, since self-isolation in prison is impossible, and prisoners are routinely denied medical treatment.
„The CPJ has always held the view that imprisoning journalists for what they publish, broadcast or write is a violation of international law,“ said Joel Simón, executive director of CPJ. “But our current appeal is humanitarian in nature. COVID-19 is rapidly spreading through prisons. We urge world leaders to take swift and decisive action to free all journalists behind bars, as a matter of life and death.“
The CPJ also released a petition and open letter to world leaders demanding the immediate release of imprisoned journalists. The campaign will feature video messages from previously jailed journalists. The campaign will culminate on World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2020.
CPJ’s coronavirus response page includes news coverage of journalists arrested, assaulted, or censored for their work on the virus, as well as question-and-answer interviews with front-line reporters. CPJ Emergencies regularly updates its physical, digital and psychosocial security tips, which are available in more than 15 languages, and journalists and newsrooms can send questions to CPJ’s security experts.
CPJ uses the hashtag #FreeThePress on social media.
Source: CPJ (https://cpj.org)