The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), with the support of Norway and Germany, will hold a side event and press conference during the U.N. General Assembly to highlight global press freedom challenges, with an emphasis on Myanmar, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Kyrgyzstan as countries where journalists are imprisoned for their work and denied due process.
The cases of Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are emblematic: they were set up by Myanmar police, falsely arrested, convicted under Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act, and sentenced to seven years of hard labor, all in a protracted effort to silence their truthful reporting. The event will be held on September 28 at 11 am, at Trusteeship Chamber (ECOSOC), United Nations. Joel Simon, Executive Director of the CPJ, Amal Clooney, Barrister and Stephen J. Adler, President and Editor-in-Chief of Reuters will participate.
This will be the first time that Ms. Clooney, who is representing Reuters and the two reporters, is speaking on the case. Mr. Adler will speak about Reuters’ perspectives on the case and how it impacts Reuters’ global newsroom. Mr. Simon will discuss the cases of blogger Alaa Abdelfattah who is imprisoned in Egypt; photojournalist Shahidul Alam, jailed in Bangladesh; and journalist Azimjon Askarov, who is serving a life sentence in Kyrgyzstan.
CPJ states that Journalists are being imprisoned at record numbers around the world. They are regularly threatened, attacked, and killed, which undermines not only their own fundamental human rights, but also the public’s right to receive and impart information. The past two years have seen record numbers of journalists imprisoned for their work, yet there has been little pushback and few countries have been held to account for their repressive and regressive practices. Countries undergoing ostensible transitions to democracy are chief among these.