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by africa @pressfreedom category: Cause
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On January 21, 2014, Reeyot Alemu, an award-winning journalist imprisoned for two and half years in Ethiopia, turns 33 while in bad health and arbitrarily denied visits from her sister, fiancé, relatives and friends. Why? Because she wrote newspaper columns with candid criticisms of her government's policies. In a society ruled by the fear of the state security, Reeyot knew full well the risk she was taking, but she was committed to truth-telling and delivered candid expressions of conscience against public corruption, power abuse, and injustice as her country underwent rapid strides in development but slid in tyranny. Reeyot is one of 8 journalists currently imprisoned in Ethiopia, which trails only Eritrea among Africa's worst jailers of journalists.
Reeyot Alemu has become a global icon of the struggle for a free press and intellectual freedom and journalists like Christiane Amanpour have spoken out on her behalf. An indomitable spirit and principled woman, she is a 2012 laureate of the International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award, the 2013 recipient of the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, and she was a finalist of the 2013 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Join an international community of well-wishers in sending a synchronized birthday message across social media platforms to Reeyot. Your support and solidarity can help her have a happier birthday and fuel her strength as she weathers harsh prison conditions and continues an international legal battle against a politically-motivated conviction on trumped-up terrorism charges.
How to show your support:
1. At the top of the page, choose to support with Twitter, Facebook, or both, and get friends and followers to do the same.
2. Sign the petition of Safe World for Women calling for Reeyot's release
3. · Donate to the Media Legal Defence Initiative's fund for Reeyot’s international appeal against her conviction
5. On 21 January, watch as everyone's messages are simultaneously shared across the world.
We are press freedom advocates dedicated to defending a free press in Africa and building communities of support around persecuted journalists.