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News Organizations Demand Protection Of Journalists In Joint Statement

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Twitter/Kevin Bishop

Participants at the BBC's Safety of Journalists Synopsium issued a joint statement on Monday calling for the protection of journalists, the BBC reported.

“We have gathered to protest at the increasing attacks on journalism around the world and the damage to free speech that can result from the rise in violence and intimidation against the media," the statement read.

At least 70 journalists were killed worldwide in 2013, and 547 have been killed between January 2007 to 2014, according to the statement. The supporters of the statement ultimately protested the censorship of journalists and fought for "establishing a safe and enabling environment for journalism."

The statement called specific attention to Anja Niedringhaus, the Associated Press photographer who was shot dead in Afghanistan on Friday while covering the upcoming presidential election. It then pointed to Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who have been detained in Egypt since December as a result of their coverage and alleged collaboration with the outlawed Muslin Brotherhood. Finally, the statement drew attention to the hundreds of journalists who have been killed within the last seven or so years, particularly the more than 90 journalists killed covering the three-year-old conflict in Syria.

The symposium coincided with the 100 day anniversary of the Al Jazeera journalists' arrest in Egypt. Journalists gathered outside BBC headquarters in London to call for their freedom.

The statement, which was supported by employees of several organizations including BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, Al Jazeera, Human Rights Watch and Committee to Protect Journalists, put the responsibility of protecting journalists on the countries' governments and called for immediate action with regards to the journalists still being held in Egypt.

"We call for the release of all those individuals and the freeing of more than 200 other journalists around the world who are now held behind bars only because they were doing their jobs," the statement continued. "Journalism is not a crime; it is essential for a free and open society."

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