By Kelsey BaRoss
RoseComm New York
Rezaian Becomes Seventh Featured Journalist Freed While Six Remain
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Press Uncuffed, a campaign to help free imprisoned journalists throughout the world by selling bracelets bearing their names, today celebrates the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and the six other journalists freed since the campaign began 10 months ago.
Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, spent 18 months in Iran’s Evin Prison before being released last month. He had been the Washington Post bureau chief in Tehran prior to his detainment.
Among the supporters who wear Press Uncuffed bracelets are Rezaian’s mother, Mary Rezaian, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi. Salehi, an Iranian, initially was arrested with Rezaian and later released on bail after three months.
“We have worn them daily, and they gave us strength,” Mary Rezaian said of the Press Uncuffed bracelets. “They also opened some opportunities for discussion. And, of course, everyone from close friends, to family and supporters lusted after them. Thank you, so much, to the Press Uncuffed team and everyone who is working on this very important issue.”
Press Uncuffed bracelets are available for $10 on PressUncuffed.org and proceeds benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a collaborator in the campaign. CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance to journalists facing threats around the world and advocates for journalists imprisoned and attacked in reprisal for their work.
Created by students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, Press Uncuffed produces clear acrylic LuciteLux® bracelets – signifying transparency in reporting – that bear the names of imprisoned journalists and the countries in which they are held. Other journalists honored by the campaign were freed in Ethiopia, Bahrain, Mexico, Vietnam, Swaziland and China.
“The release of Jason, a colleague, is a reminder that Press Uncuffed can make a difference and lift the spirits of those in prison and the people closest to them working for their release,” said Dana Priest, the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. “About 200 journalists, however, remain wrongfully imprisoned. Supporting the Press Uncuffed campaign helps raise much-needed funds and brings awareness to the issue of press freedom, putting real pressure on the U.S. government to do more, and on governments holding journalists without cause.”
Press Uncuffed bracelets honor 13 journalists, including the following six who are still in prison:
- Mohamed Cheik Ould Mohamed in Mauritania
- Eskinder Nega in Ethiopia
- Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) in Egypt
- Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan
- Yusuf Ruzimuradov in Uzbekistan
- Ilham Tohti in China
For more information and to purchase a bracelet with one of the 13 journalists’ names, visit PressUncuffed.org. Sign up here to receive updates from the CPJ on the status of imprisoned journalists and to learn about new actions you can take to support their release.
“Whether freed or still in prison, the people on this list deserve to be recognized for the risks they took and sacrifices they made to report critical information that their governments wanted to bury,” said Priest.
About Press Uncuffed
Press Uncuffed is a campaign to raise money to free imprisoned journalists around the world by selling bracelets bearing their names. Journalism students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, created the campaign, which benefits the Committee to Protect Journalists’ emergency assistance campaign. Additional information about Press Uncuffed is available at PressUncuffed.org.
About the Committee to Protect Journalists
CPJ promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ ensures the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored or harassed.
About the Philip Merrill College of Journalism
The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland is one of the world’s leading journalism schools. Our curriculum emphasizes a hands-on approach to learning with professional equipment that leads to the jobs of today and those waiting in the future. We have a world-class award-winning faculty with years of experience and intimate class sizes. The Merrill College is just a few short miles from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore – locations that provide unparalleled internships and broad learning opportunities.