Today writes Cilla Benkö, CEO of Swedish Television, Peter Wolodarski, editor of the Daily News, and I have a joint appeal for detained journalists in Egypt. The reason is well known: Australian Peter Greste, Canadian and Egyptian, Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian, Baher Mohamed from television station al-Jazeera was sentenced on Monday to seven to ten years in prison for, say authorities have been guilty of having ” sent false news ”about the protests in Egypt last year.
Such rubriceringar usually supposed to indicate that the cases rather determined by taste courts than criminal proceedings, and therefore, we note in the text now – 06 o’clock on Wednesday morning – published by all our media:
”The sentencing of television employees is a legal scandal. The offense alleged to have been guilty of is not a crime but a part of freedom of speech, the foundation of a free and open society. That right is universal.
Egypt makes their community a great disservice and damage its international reputation by criminalizing those who exercise their fundamental human rights and freedoms. ”
Several other journalists also accused of false reporting and thus collaborating with terrorists, some were convicted even though they have already left the country. And in a state that is ranked only 159 in the list of the nations with the most press freedom in the world, it might not be much good to wait for the show trials of journalists, and our call today is therefore not really just about the colleagues on al-Jazeera. (The full petition is available here.)
This commitment also applies to Swedish-eritrean Dawit Isaak, jailed in Eritrea since 2001, without a chance to defend themselves, as well as it once was Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson when they were arrested in Ethiopia and then convicted in a trial with rigged evidence. So far this year, 170 journalists have been detained, and that is of course unacceptable. During Almedalsveckan, which kicks off on Sunday, the ”Free Dawit” campaign will be discussed and I will be moderating a debate on public protests against these kinds of cases. Unfortunately, that question all too current.