The need to defend journalists from imprisonment

Mahmoud Abou Zeid (know as Shawkan) Egyptian photojournalist Mar 6 2018

This is Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan. He is one of 53 jailed journalists in Egyptian prisons. He & other defendants on trial now are charged with illegal protesting, use of force, illegal arms possession, vandalism with “a terrorist intent,” belonging to a banned group, premeditated murder. The prosecutor is demanding the death sentence. In fact, Shawkan is a photojournalist who was on assignment & carrying a press card.

While groveling Assadist journalists like Robert Fisk, John Pilger, & Patrick Cockburn & embedded professional propagandists Bartlett & Beeley are feted around the world by fascists, Islamophobes, anti-Semites, & corrupted antiwar forces as “independent journalists,” those authentic journalists who chronicle war, occupation, repression, genocide are hunted like animals, exterminated like bugs or jailed as criminals. The Burmese military wiped out or disappeared almost the entire network of underground citizen journalists who chronicled genocide against the Rohingya at great peril to their lives. Two Reuters reporters in Burma are now in jail for trying to expose a massacre of Rohingya men. Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yousef has been in jail for over six months for covering protests & funerals of those killed by occupation forces rather than ‘social work’ by the Indian army & paramilitary forces like blood drives.

There are organizations like Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) who aggressively monitor & wage defense campaigns on behalf of jailed journalists. We must get on the stick & significantly increase our defense work on behalf of jailed journalists in the interests of protecting journalists on the front lines of struggle so that we know what is happening behind news blackouts & repression. We cannot allow propagandists & washed up Islamophobes & blowhards to replace the courageous work of reputable journalists.

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