#RaiseYourVoice 2015

Blog Action Day this year has the theme of #Raise Your Voice.

The idea is for bloggers to celebrate people "who raise their voice when faced with censorship, threats, and violence."

Today I want to celebrate journalists who keep on reporting the facts in areas of the world where that is a really dangerous thing to do.

In some places, to be a news reporter is to risk your life or your freedom.

Last year 2014 nearly 100 media workers were killed directly because of their work.

In 2015 so far 22 have been killed and 160 imprisoned. 

These figures are from Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organization founded in France in 1985 but now international. The quote below, from their website explains why freedom of information is so important:
"Freedom of expression and of information will always be the world’s most important freedom. If journalists were not free to report the facts, denounce abuses and alert the public, how would we resist the problem of children-soldiers, defend women’s rights, or preserve our environment? In some countries, torturers stop their atrocious deeds as soon as they are mentioned in the media. In others, corrupt politicians abandon their illegal habits when investigative journalists publish compromising details about their activities. Still elsewhere, massacres are prevented when the international media focuses its attention and cameras on events. 
Freedom of information is the foundation of any democracy. Yet almost half of the world’s population is still denied it."
Susanna Flood, Media Director at Amnesty International said this:
“Wherever you look in the world you will find the story of a journalist who has been harassed, threatened, unfairly jailed and even killed by a government or an armed group in a bid to stop them from reporting on issues seen as controversial,” 
“More and more, we are seeing governments less willing to tolerate dissent and being prepared to do anything to stop journalists from speaking out and informing the public. The message seems to be ‘if you dare to report on human rights issues you should be ready to spend time in prison or even be killed.”
One of many stories of journalists unfairly jailed, just for doing their job is that Mahmoud Abu Seid (known as Shawkan). He is currently held indefinitely in an Egyptian jail simply for taking photos. He has committed no crime.

You can read about his experience in his own words in a letter published on Amnesty International's website.

As Mahmoud Abu Seid is a prisoner of conscience Amnesty International is campaigning for his release. You can join the campaign for his release by signing the petition here.