VICE Blacks Out Digital Network to Protest Jailing of Turkish Journalist
VICE homepages featured appeals for Mohammed Rasool to be released 56 days after he was detained on terror-related charges while reporting for VICE News.
Around 100 VICE Media digital channels worldwide went dark Wednesday morning in objection to the jailing in Turkey of VICE News journalist Mohammed Rasool on terror-related charges.
VICE said it has blacked out every digital and social channel for two hours (until 12 noon EST) as it calls on the Turkish government to release Rasool. "The very existence of democracy relies on a free and thriving fourth estate. Please help us focus attention on Rasool’s case, by sharing the hashtag on social media of #FreeRasool, and keeping pressure on the Turkish authorities to free him immediately," VICE co-founder and CEO Shane Smith said in a statement.
VICE homepages featured blacked out holding pages, where viewers were asked to to help free Rasool by signing a Change.org petition aimed at Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Rasool and two British journalists, Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury, were arrested on Aug. 27, 2015 in southeast Turkey, and were charged with "aiding a terrorist organization."
Hanrahan and Pendlebury were released after 11 days in detention, while Rasool, VICE News' Turkey-based journalist and fixer, remains behind bars.
The three VICE News journalists were detained after filming in an area of Diyarbakir, where Kurdish youths frequently clash with security forces. Rasool's continuing detention has prompted protests from media rights advocates, the U.S. government and the European Union.