SOURCE: Press Uncuffed

Press Uncuffed

March 25, 2015 09:05 ET

Press Uncuffed Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Raise Money to Free Imprisoned Journalists

Funds Will Allow Students to Sell Bracelets to Benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists' Emergency Assistance Fund

COLLEGE PARK, MD--(Marketwired - Mar 25, 2015) - Press Uncuffed, a campaign started by University of Maryland journalism students to raise money to free imprisoned journalists by selling bracelets bearing their names, today launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding effort. The funds will enable the students to manufacture and package the bracelets prior to making them available for sale on World Press Freedom Day, which is May 3, 2015.

The students and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, created Press Uncuffed to support the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonprofit organization that advocates for journalists in danger. Last fall, Priest assigned each of her students an imprisoned journalist to profile for the semester. The students developed a better understanding of the journalists' experience and wanted to do more to help release them. The idea of creating and selling bracelets was born out of this experience.

"The last three years have been the worst on record for the safety of journalists covering news in many parts of the world," said Dana Priest, the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. "The problem is getting worse, not better. With 221 journalists currently imprisoned, the funds raised through this campaign will help put pressure on the governments holding journalists in prison and raise awareness of the critical link between information and a free and prosperous society."

The goal of the Indiegogo campaign is to raise $30,000 to cover production costs for a minimum of 10,000 bracelets. The bracelets are made in Memphis, Tennessee with LuciteLux® clear acrylic to remind us of the important of transparency of information. These bracelets, bearing nine imprisoned journalists' names, will be available for sale online for $10.00 each on World Press Freedom Day. The campaign will introduce additional names as funds allow.

Press Uncuffed will start with bracelets honoring nine journalists:

  • Ammar Abdulrasool in Bahrain
  • Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) in Egypt
  • Reeyot Alemu in Ethiopia
  • Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan
  • Bheki Makhubu in Swaziland
  • Ta Phong Tan in Vietnam
  • Jason Rezaian in Iran
  • Yusuf Ruzimuradov in Uzbekistan
  • Ilham Tohti in China

Donors to the Indiegogo campaign can choose from perks, such as a bracelet; tickets to the Newseum in Washington, D.C.; a daylong visit to National Geographic with behind-the-scenes access; participation in an exclusive Google+ hangout with a former imprisoned journalist; and tickets to the Committee to Protect Journalists' Annual Gala event in New York City. For more details on the perks associated with this Indiegogo campaign, please visit the Indiegogo campaign page.

"The Press Uncuffed campaign aspires to personalize the plight of journalists who are risking everything, and paying the price, to share critical information with the world," said Courtney Radsch, Committee to Protect Journalists' advocacy director. "The link between freedom of the press and a free society is clear. By wearing your support for imprisoned journalists, you are helping ensure that brave journalists around the world can continue to report on topics that matter."

For more information on Press Uncuffed and the nine journalists, please visit PressUncuffed.org.

About Press Uncuffed
Press Uncuffed is a campaign to raise money to free imprisoned journalists around the world by selling bracelets bearing their names. Journalism students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, created the campaign, which benefits the Committee to Protect Journalists' emergency assistance campaign. Additional information about Press Uncuffed is available at PressUncuffed.org

About the Committee to Protect Journalists
CPJ promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ ensures the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored or harassed.

About the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism
The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland is one of the world's leading journalism schools. Our curriculum emphasizes a hands-on approach to learning with professional equipment that leads to the jobs of today and those waiting in the future. We have a world-class award-winning faculty with years of experience and intimate class sizes. The Merrill College is just a few short miles from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore -- locations that provide unparalleled internships and broad learning opportunities.

*Note to Editors: Please contact Carolyn Lasky at clasky@rosecomm.com for high-resolution images of the journalists and bracelets.

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