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The last words: Formerly imprisoned journalist speaks about press freedom

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The last words: Formerly imprisoned journalist speaks about press freedom

Fatullayev stresses that the fight for a free press is an international issue, felt worldwide, and affects even countries that are considered cradles of freedom and democracy.

“There wasn't a single man who wouldn't speak up in my support, and the international campaign that spoke on my behalf wouldn't stop, not for a moment,” says Fatullayev. “And if it had stopped you probably would never see me again.”

Fatullayev's release followed an outpour of international pressure for his release, spread in large part by social media such as Twitter.

Looking back on his time in prison, which he referred to as a medieval prison, Fatullayev reminds the panel and audience at the Press Freedom Roundtable that there are still countless journalists behind bars today.

Fatullayev turns to his neighbor, Luis Horacio Nájera, a Mexican journalist who is living in exile in Canada because of his hard-hitting investigative pieces on the border's drug cartels, and says that he had read about him while in prison.

“Single-handedly he was fighting against drug cartels and now he has to live in Canada. And now no one is interested in him,” says Fatullayev. “He almost became a victim of that combat. The same as I experienced myself.”

In the fight for freedom of speech, both journalists stress that indifference will taint all efforts to secure a free press, and ultimately just societies.

“Living as an exile, a refugee abroad, is a little like not being fully alive because you leave everything behind,” says Nájera. “It's depleting in emotional terms. It's very similar to being in jail but difficult to understand until you're living that reality.”

Author

Alexandra Waldhorn

Date

2011-10-12 18:21

Author information

The 71st World News Media Congress, the 26th World Editors Forum and the 3rd Women in News Summit will be held from 1 - 3 June 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

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In 2011 the newspaper world gathered in Vienna, Austria for IFRA Expo 2011, 63rd World Newspaper Congress and 18th World Editors Forum.

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