The annual report on press freedom recently released by the organisation ‘Reporters Without Borders’ has revealed shocking figures: a total of 80 journalists were killed worldwide in 2018; 348 are currently in prison, 60 are being held hostage, and 3 have vanished without a trace.
Among them many photographers we are dedicated to keeping in our thoughts is the Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, also known as Shawkan, who was sentenced to five years in prison this September. A global solidarity campaign (#MyPicforShawkan) had been launched on social media in order to oppose a possible death sentence.
On 30 April 2018 Shah Marai, chief photographer for the AFP in Afghanistan, was among the 9 casualties of a double suicide bombing in Kabul which specifically targeted media personnel.
The award-winning Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was arrested in Dhaka on 5 August 2018. He was released after 100 days behind bars, following a high-profile court case revolving around press freedom. Once again, an online campaign (#FreeShahidulAlam) contributed to garnering the necessary media attention.
On 3 November 2018, Chinese photographer Lu Guang vanished during a visit to China’s Xinjiang region. The award-winning photojournalist has been described as ‘China’s photographic conscience’ for documenting the downside of the country’s economic growth. It has since transpired that Lu Guang was arrested, though no charges have been disclosed.
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