Thursday, May 1, 2014
Jailed Al Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fahmy wins World Press Freedom Award TORONTO, ON (May 1, 2014) – Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is pleased to congratulate its nominee Mohamed Fahmy on winning the 16th Press Freedom Award at the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom’s (CCWPF’s) annual luncheon celebrating World Press Freedom Day in Ottawa. The ceremony will take place May 2, 2014. This award honours a Canadian journalist who has made an outstanding contribution to the right to freedom of expression in the face of persecution. The CCWPF Award includes a cash prize of $2,000 as well as a certificate of honour from the CCWPF and the Canadian Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Mohamed Fahmy is an award-winning Egyptian-Canadian journalist and Al Jazeera English producer. Throughout his career, Fahmy has extensively covered the Middle East and North Africa for such reputable publications as CNN, BBC, New York Times, LA Times, and Al Hurra TV. He and his colleagues Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were arrested on December 29, 2013 after reporting on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been declared a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government. They have been held in the notorious Tora prison ever since. Fahmy, Greste and Mohamed are charged with spreading false news, belonging to a terrorist group and operating without a permit. Fahmy has consistently been denied his well-founded requests for bail, as well as adequate medical treatment for a shoulder injury worsened by the conditions of his imprisonment. His seventh court appearance will be May 3, which is also World Press Freedom Day. Even in the face of intense hardship, Fahmy remains concerned about “how to stress the plight of many local journalists detained in Egypt who have not received a fraction of the attention that I’m getting.” He is also keenly attuned to the difficulties of reporting in Egypt’s current political climate. In light of this, he will be donating his prize money to the family of Mayada Ashraf, a young local reporter with the daily Al-Dustour who was shot and killed on March 28, 2014 while documenting clashes between Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators and security forces. The suggestion that Fahmy is anything other than a professional, ethical journalist is absurd. On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, it is the hope of CJFE, CCWPF, and Fahmy that this award will further prove that he and his colleagues were simply doing their jobs and that journalism is not terrorism.
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