A statement has been signed by over 40 prominent journalists and editors from across the world demanding the release of three Al Jazeera journalists detained by Egyptian authorities.
Press Gazette previously reported that the journalists have been detained since 29 December, accused of being terrorists connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The letter states: “We are deeply concerned to learn that our colleagues, all three of whom are well respected journalists, may face charges that include belonging to a terrorist organization and spreading false news that could endanger national security.”
The detained journalists are Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, who is said to have a broken shoulder.
The statement calls the imprisonment “arbitrary” and requests the release of other journalists who have been detained for nearly five months.
The letter states: “The arrest of these journalists has cast a cloud over press and media freedom in Egypt. We strongly believe that upholding the rights of journalists and permitting the free flow of information is vital to bringing about greater understanding and serves the best interests of all Egyptians and the world.”
Spokesperson for Al Jazeera Media Network, Ghassan Abu Hussein said: “We condemn the allegations directed at our staff by Egyptian authorities which are aiming to stigmatise us, and further incite violence against our journalists working on the ground…this is all part of a larger antagonistic campaign against us.”
Those who have signed the statement include CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen, the Observer’s foreign Affairs editor Peter Beaumont and The Washington Post’s foreign editor Douglas Jehl.