"Reporting from a revolution is not a crime"
Three journalists from the Al-Jazeera TV company were last Monday sentenced by an Egyptian Court of Law to between seven and ten years of imprisonment. The three journalists, Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were arrested shortly before the end of last year. According to the prosecutor they had spread “false news” concerning the protests in Egypt last summer.
The sentencing of the TV-journalists is a scandal of justice, says three Swedish media executives – Cilla Benkö, director general Swedish Radio, Thomas Mattsson, Editor in Chief,
Expressen and Peter Wolodarski, Editor in Chief Dagens Nyheter – in a joint statement.
In the same way as Al-Jazeera, our respective media houses also reported from Egypt last year when Muhammad Mursi was ousted from power. Our assignment was, exactly as our international colleagues, to witness and tell the world what was happening in the country.
The sentencing of the TV-journalists is a scandal of justice. The crime they are accused of is not a crime, but rather a matter of freedom of expression, the fundamental base of a free and open society. That right is universal.
Egypt is causing its society a huge disservice, and is also damaging its international reputation by criminalizing those who are using their basic human rights.
We, the undersigned of this declaration, represent three different media houses in Sweden. However, we wish to make a joint protest against the brutal treatment of journalists by the Egyptian regime and to state our solidarity with the sentenced journalists and their relatives.
Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed should be set free immediately. Reporting from a revolution is not a crime.