By MARK PEARSON Follow @Journlaw
Additional research by journalism student MELANIE WHITING
AS Australian journalist Peter Greste languishes in an Egyptian jail just three weeks into his seven year sentence for simply doing his job reporting for Al Jazeera, it was heartening to see friends and colleagues rally in his support in Melbourne yesterday (July 14).
Clearly, the problem faced by all such political prisoners is that pressure for their release can diminish after their initial sentence disappears from the news agenda.
Almost 11,000 people have now signed the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) petition for the release of Greste and his colleagues, which will be sent tomorrow (July 16). Please go to http://www.thepetitionsite.com/583/945/591/fr/ and sign it.
In the days following the verdict political leaders including US Secretary of State John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott expressed shock and condemnation over the Egyptian court’s decision on June 23.
Labor foreign affairs spokesperson Tanya Plibersek has been supportive and Greens leader Christine Milne has called upon the Abbott Government to escalate its diplomatic efforts on Greste’s behalf.
Media companies, unions and free expression groups have been united in their push for the release of Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues.
Representatives of News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media told AdNews they saw the sentence as a threat to press freedom.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) issued a statement on their website condemning the verdict and maintained that Greste had acted as an ethical and responsible journalist.
A group of top international journalists united to send a letter to the Egyptian President asking for Greste and his colleagues to be released.
Petitions are important, so please sign any or all of these:
- You can still sign the CJFE petition (until July 16) at:
- Amnesty International’s petition now has 82,000 signatures at http://www.amnesty.org.au/action/action/33972/
- The petition at change.org now has more than 86,000 signatures.
- The Tumblr site for #FreeAJStaff claims more than 55,000 have used the hashtag and many have posted protest selfies of themselves gagged. You can see them and act yourself at http://freeajstaff.tumblr.com/ .
Go ahead – please sign them all NOW!
[The MEAA petition at http://www.alliance.org.au/peter-greste-petition has now closed.]
© Mark Pearson 2014
Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.