Protecting Those Who Champion Free Speech
In many parts of the world, journalists, bloggers and writers risk their safety, their jobs and even their very lives as they speak truth to power. Facing threats and intimidation, these individuals battle efforts by governments or others to control the flow of information. Freedom of expression is an essential human right, and Amnesty International works to protect those who find themselves at risk simply for exercising this right.
As we mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the individuals described below need our support as they speak out for justice and human rights. See below to learn more about each person’s story and to take action to help.
China - Tibetan filmmaker imprisoned for "inciting separatism"
Dhondup Wangchen was arrested in 2008 on account of a film he made entitled "Leaving Fear Behind," which portrays the voices and perspectives of fellow Tibetans on the eve of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Following a secret trial, authorities sentenced him to 6 years in prison for "inciting separatism" and "subversion of state power." Take Action
Woubshet Taye and Reyot Alemu
Ethiopia - journalists sentenced for reporting about opposition groups
Woubshet Taye, deputy editor of Awramba Times, along with Reyot Alemu, a columnist for the weekly journal Fitih, were sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for charges of terrorism. These charges are thought to be in connection with their coverage of banned opposition groups. Take Action
Honduras - human rights reporter receives threats
Dina Meza reports on human rights issues for the website Defenders Online. She is also a human rights activist with the Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared (COFADEH). In relation to her work on the land conflict in the Lower Aguan region of Honduras, she has received a series of calls threatening her with sexual violence. Her safety is at risk. Take Action
Sri Lanka - journalist and cartoonist a victim of enforced disappearance
Prageeth Eknaligoda went missing on January 24, 2010, shortly after leaving work at the Lanka-e-News office near the capital Colombo. Local residents said they saw a white van without number plates near Prageeth's home shortly before he disappeared. In the days leading up to his disappearance he had told a close friend that he believed he was being followed. Take Action
Abuzar al Amin
Sudan - newspaper editor faces imprisonment
Abuzar al Amin, former deputy editor-in-chief of Rai Al Shaab newspaper, was convicted in July 2010 of "undermining the Constitution" and "publishing false news" in relation to articles he wrote. Although his five-year sentence was reduced to one year and he was released on bail in August 2011, authorities brought additional charges against him, which are still pending. Take Action
Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev
Turkmenistan - human rights defenders imprisoned
Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev were detained in 2006 for having connections with journalists and the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation, a human rights organization. They were sentenced to up to seven years' imprisonment for "illegal acquisition, possession or sale of ammunition or firearms." Amnesty International believes the charges were fabricated and that the men were, in fact, jailed for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Take Action