DCAP Board of Directors Stands with Greste, Fahmy, Mohammed

The Board of Directors of the Dart Centre for Trauma and Journalism - Asia Pacific deplores the decision in Cairo today to find guilty and imprison Australian journalist Peter Greste and his colleagues Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed.

This is a very sad and disturbing result, not only for the journalists involved, their family and friends, but also for their colleagues working in the news media around the world, and for the cause of press freedom. It is a serious blow to not only press freedom in Egypt, but to the cause of democracy there.

On December 29, 2013 Mr. Greste and his team, Egyptian-Canadian Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were arrested in Cairo for being part of, or assisting, a “terrorist organisation."

The Dart Centre Asia Pacific believes that Greste and his colleagues were undertaking responsible and balanced journalism and that they are being punished for political reasons.

As Mr. Greste said in a letter in January: "We had been doing exactly as any responsible, professional journalist would – recording and trying to make sense of the unfolding events with all the accuracy, fairness and balance that our imperfect trade demands.

"We were not alone in our reporting, but our arrest has served as a chilling warning to others … Anyone who applauds the state is seen as safe and deserving of liberty. Anything else is a threat that needs to be crushed."

Today’s shameful verdict makes that last sentence seem not only prescient but accurate.

The Dart Centre Asia Pacific supports free speech and independent journalism, and believes the decision today signals that the Egyptian authorities have failed to recognise the importance of this work in the building of democracy.

The Dart Centre Asia-Pacific vows to continue urging the Australian and other governments to make urgent and high level representations to the Egyptian government about the due process that one of its citizens appears to have been denied in this court case.