Telling the Truth Is Not A Crime

 
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Journalists protest to free Shawkan from Egyptian jail. Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

In honor of this too often ignored World Press Freedom Day, a reminder that today at least 200 journalists - from China to  Burundi to Iran to Eritrea to perhaps most egregiously Egypt and Turkey - are today imprisoned and sometimes tortured for doing their job, which is telling the truth and giving a voice to the voiceless. "Journalism is not a crime," notes Amnesty International, "yet the principles of free speech and a free press are threatened across the world." From Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, aka “Shawkan,” who has spent three years in jail, been tortured and now faces death penalty charges after documenting violent security forces at a Cairo sit-in: “I’m a journalist who has no affiliation but to his profession. Why all this oppression and persecution? Has it not been enough?”

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