Safety of Journalism And The Verdict of The Egyptian Court

Filed under: Global Issues |

The Safety of Journalism And The Verdict of The Egyptian Court

In a tensed courtroom on Monday, a judge sentensed Greste and Fahmy to seven years in prison while Mohammed was handed down 10 years -seven for one charge, three for a second.

In 2013, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, India, Mexico and Brazil were the world’s deadliest countries for the media. The annual toll of journalists killed in connection with their work in 2013 fell by 20% compared with 2012, but year 2012 was remarkably exceptional as a total of 88 journalists were killed.

Of the 71 journalists killed in 2013, 37% worked for the print media, 30% for radio stations, 30% for news websites. The overwhelming majority of the victims were men. This year has had its own challenges as well, the most recent being that of the three Al jazeera English journalists who were indicted and convicted on Monday, for according to the allegation, aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. This ruling outraged journalists and activists around the world in fact, it propelled my motivation to writing this piece.

The journalists, Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, have been in prison in Cairo since December last year on charges that include conspiring with the Brotherhood, spreading false news and endangering national security. All of these allegations, they steadfastly denied, as well as Al jazeera, their employer.

The verdict came to me as a shock and i find it reckless and a betrayal of the justice system. Reporting an ongoing incidence in a country and vehemently challenging both sides of the story isn’t a crime. Journalists as well as activists has been killed again and again in the line of their work and this is highly unacceptable. They make up the other part of the interesting society, without their work, both the ordinary and not so ordinary, will lose out in the big pictures of all things that matters.

Everyone knows that there’s a political touch to the verdict, but for the sake of justice, tranquility and respect of the law protecting journalists as well as human rights to freedom of speech, let the verdict be reversed and let these staff get back to their families.