Press Uncuffed: Free the Press Campaign

Collaboration with University of Maryland students highlights journalists jailed worldwide

New York, March 26, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists today launched the Press Uncuffed: Free the Press campaign at the Newseum in Washington to raise awareness about journalists imprisoned around the world in connection with their coverage of news in the public interest. The campaign, conducted in partnership with students at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, highlights nine emblematic cases of imprisoned journalists and calls for their release. At least 221 journalists were behind bars when CPJ conducted its most recent prison census.

“These journalists were imprisoned for doing their jobs by governments fearful of a free press,” said CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch. “By recognizing these nine intrepid journalists–most of whom were jailed on anti-state or retaliatory charges–we hope to increase public pressure for their release and draw attention to the hundreds of others who have been silenced by their governments.”

The journalists featured in the campaign have been imprisoned on anti-state or retaliatory charges. Two are being held without charge. They are:

Ilham Tohti, China, 2014

Bheki Makhubu, Swaziland, 2014

Reeyot Alemu, Ethiopia, 2011

Khadija Ismayilova, Azerbaijan, 2014

Jason Rezaian, Iran, 2014

Yusuf Ruzimuradov, Uzbekistan, 1999

Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan), Egypt, 2013

Ta Phong Tan, Vietnam, 2011

Ammar Abdulrasool, Bahrain, 2014

The students, under the leadership of Knight chair at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist Dana Priest, developed the idea of designing, producing, and selling bracelets bearing the names of the jailed journalists, and have launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise money to produce the bracelets. The campaign funds will be donated to CPJ. Learn more at

Join us in taking action to help these journalists and call on repressive governments to #FreeThePress.


CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

Media contacts:

Samantha Libby

Advocacy Officer

[email protected]


Ashley Parent

Communications Associate

[email protected]