Dear newspaper executive,
Imagine the unthinkable. Armed
men barge into your office or home, lock you in handcuffs and abduct
you. You are interrogated and thrown into a cell. There, you wait for
hours, days or even weeks before you are charged.
You are a nuisance. You are a threat. Someone wants you out of the way.
than 500 publishers and journalists were arrested and jailed in this
way in 2005 and they number several thousand over the past decade.
Dozens of them remain in prison today, serving sentences as long as 20
Locking up journalists instils fear and sends a clear
message: Don't meddle with affairs that don't concern you. Government
corruption, for example, or criminal activity linked to influential
personalities, or the absence of political pluralism and human rights.
the exception of a handful of prominent cases, our colleagues who, deep
in prison cells, are paying the price of their excessive curiosity or
attachment to press freedom, are faceless and unknown other than to
their families and colleagues.
The World Association of
Newspapers believes that each and every one of these courageous men and
women deserves our attention and solidarity and that we owe it to them
to campaign for their release.
We need your help in doing this.
On 3 May 2006, World Press Freedom Day, we ask you to support our
efforts to highlight these shameful abuses, around the theme: 'Don't
Lock Up Information: Stop Jailing Journalists!'
Thank you in advance – on behalf of our imprisoned colleagues – for your help.
Chief Executive Officer
World Association of Newspapers
A number of individuals and organisations have made this year’s campaign possible. We would like to express our sincere thanks to AdForum, Agence France-Presse, Beckman’s College of Design, the Burma Media Association, Committee to Protect Journalists, Michel Cambon, Radio Free Europe and Team Armstrong.
How can you help?
In many ways: By publishing, for example, the editorial and
advertising materials that WAN has made available on this site. They
include interviews, articles, cartoons, print-ready advertisements, and
the stories of these jailed journalists. Or by taking direct action and
sending protest letters on behalf of your newspaper to the jailers. We
encourage you to participate in the campaign against the jailing of
journalists by using some or all of these materials in your newspaper
on 3 May or on the nearest day on which you publish.