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Every journalist in prison is a lost perspective on the truth

Every journalist in prison is a lost perspective on the truth

Editorial office

On the World Press Freedom Day, we draw attention to the danger of censorship and the hundreds of imprisoned journalists worldwide by launching the ‘The Erased’ campaign. Most of the time, the stories of imprisoned journalists remain untold because what is not published cannot be read. Now, we make them visible. Media outlets and organizations worldwide have joined Free Press Unlimited in making a stand against censorship. Ukrainian independent media Zaborona supports the campaign because the right to the truth is one of the foundations for a free, just world.

As of April 30, 2024, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, at least 89 media workers have been killed.

Journalists as targets

In 2023, CPJ registered 320 imprisoned journalists worldwide. The Erased uses a unique font that links every single one of these 320 journalists to a censored word and erases these words from participating (news) websites around the world. This symbolizes the importance of free and independent journalism and the danger of censorship: it takes away our right to know.

All over the world, journalists face censorship while they attempt to publish about violations, to bring abuse of power to light, or to simply document what is happening in front of them. We see journalists becoming targets in conflicts. When we look at Palestine, 17 arrests were documented after 7 October 2023. For many of them, the charges remain unknown. These journalists spoke about war, suppression, and bombing before being detained.

In Myanmar, where after the coup by the military democracy has crumbled, a staggering 43 journalists have been arrested in 2023. They wrote about injustice, violence, and disinformation. The top jailer is China, with 44 imprisoned journalists in 2023. A topic that is strictly censored is the pressing situation of the Uyghur people. Anything that relates to this is censored, from the name of the Xinjiang province that is home to this minority group to the word concentration, following the accusations of the internment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in concentration camps.

Making stories visible

Besides making censorship visible, we also shine a light on the journalists who face arrest, assault, or imprisonment.

Each erased word symbolizes a currently imprisoned journalist. As part of the campaign, people can click through to ‘The Erased’ website on which the erased words become visible and where stories of journalists who faced imprisonment or legal threats are shared through in-depth interviews.

“Both I and the people around me were targeted by the government. It eventually forced me to go into exile. (…) My aim is to show everyone that giving up is not an option. As journalists, it is our duty to hold those in power accountable”, — Solomon Amabo, Cameroon, one of the featured journalists.

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