The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) together with Australian affiliate the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) delivered a letter to Egypt’s consulate in Sydney urging the release of the Al Jazeera English journalists imprisoned in Cairo, including Australian reporter Peter Greste. A delegation of senior Australian journalists presented the global campaign letter. Also presented were petitions with more than 150,000 thousand signatures.
The delegation consisted of ABC TV’s Sophie McNeil, TEN Network’s Hugh Riminton, freelancer and convenor of Women In Media Tracey Spicer and MEAA’s NSW honorary branch secretary Marcus Strom from the Sydney Morning Herald.
The letter was organised in partnership with the International Federation of Journalists, MEAA, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE).
It has been signed by more than 100 journalist unions, media rights and freedom of expression organisations and is being presented at several Egyptian diplomatic missions around the world today.
Organisations from Pakistan, Canada, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sweden, New Zealand, Cambodia, Norway, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Venezuela were just some of the signatories to the letter.
The letter called on President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to take immediate steps to rectify the extraordinary attack on press freedom and human rights represented by the prison sentences handed to the three Al Jazeera English journalists last week. Signatories to the letter called on:
- President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Egyptian authorities to immediately release the three Al Jazeera English journalist and all journalists detained for their journalism,
- The Egyptian government to overturn the verdict so that it is not a precedent to be used against other journalists in the future, and
- Local and foreign journalists working in Egypt be free to carry out their duties without harassment, intimidation or violence.
The petitions, organised by Amnesty International Australia and Change.org were also presented. Combined, the petitions were signed by 153,696 people.
The IFJ thanks all of its affiliates and the signatories to the letter for this outstanding demonstration of solidarity and commitment to press freedom and human rights.