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On World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Committee calls for release of captive journalists

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For Immediate Release: May 2, 2011 Washington, D.C. — As journalists and press freedom advocates from around the world gather…

For Immediate Release: May 2, 2011

Washington, D.C. — As journalists and press freedom advocates from around the world gather in Washington to mark World Press Freedom Day May 3, the Reporters Committee calls for the release of journalists held captive simply for doing their jobs.

“The first instinct of tyrants is to shut down a free press, squelching opposition and oversight,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish. “Throwing reporters and photographers in jail because of — or to prevent them from completing — their work is an unacceptable, dangerous and ultimately ineffective means of stifling dissent.

“We call on those nations holding journalists captive — including Americans Clare Morgana Gillis, James Foley and Matthew VanDyke in Libya — to release them from custody immediately. Similarly, we call on the leaders of nations that embrace a free press to take a stand against this outrage by encouraging the release of these brave men and women who willingly walk into the most dangerous places on earth to bring the news to their readers, viewers and listeners in all media,” Dalglish added.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, some 145 journalists are currently imprisoned around the world, with China and Iran leading the list.

World Press Freedom Day is being hosted in the United States this year for the first time since it began in 1993 with the signing of the Windhoek Declaration in Namibia. Organized by UNESCO and funded by private partners such as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, an international conference celebrating freedom of the press is being held in Washington, D.C., May 1-3.

About the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: Founded in 1970 to combat an increase in subpoenas seeking reporters' confidential sources, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press now offers free legal support to more than 2,000 working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee files friend-of-the-court briefs and statements, coordinates legislative efforts, publishes guides to media law for journalists, and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.

For more information, contact:

Lucy A. Dalglish Executive Director Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Email: ldalglish@rcfp.org Phone: 703-807-2100 www.rcfp.org