In advance of Press Freedom Day, President Obama expressed his support for the ” brave men and women of the press who labor to expose truth”. AFP has a report on the statement, below are some choice excerpts.
US President Barack Obama said Friday his administration was “especially concerned” about the detention of two US journalists in North Korea and one in Iran.
“We are… especially concerned about the citizens from our own country currently under detention abroad: individuals such as Roxana Saberi in Iran, and Euna Lee and Laura Ling in North Korea,” Obama said in a statement marking World Press Freedom Day on May 3. [..]
Obama decried the jailing or active harassment of journalists that have taken place “in every corner of the globe,” including China, Cuba, Eritrea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.
“Emblematic examples of this distressing reality are figures like J.S. Tissainayagam in Sri Lanka, or Shi Tao and Hu Jia in China,” he said.
Obama noted that since World Press Freedom Day was first celebrated in 1993, 692 journalists have been killed as they worked “to expose truth and enhance accountability around the world.” [AFP]
There’s a new campaign started (presumably) by some Sri Lankans in Canada asking CNN’s Andreson Cooper to champion the cause of Press Freedom in Sri Lanka. They have a petition you could sign.
The website is freeourpress.org
The group claims that they were inspired by Lasantha Wickramatunga’s editorial. Here’s an excerpt from the about page:
Inspired by the call of conscience, a group of individuals from varying backgrounds, religious affiliations, and different levels of activism came together to launch an improbable experiment to change the course of press freedom in Sri Lanka.
We support the fundamental belief that all journalists living in Sri Lanka, despite any differences in views, are entitled to the freedom of speech and expression including publication. We encourage all social movements that aim to narrow the gap between the promise of this ideal and the reality of our time to support our campaign.
They also have a video-version of the “Call of Conscious” editorial