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Launching The Erased: unifying against censorship

On World Press Freedom Day (May 3rd) we want to turn all eyes on the danger of censorship and the 363 imprisoned journalists worldwide. Most of the time, the stories of these journalists remain untold - because what is not published cannot be read. Now, The Erased font makes them visible. Media outlets and organisations worldwide are unified and participating.

The Erased uses an unique font that links every single one of the 363 imprisoned journalists to a censored word, and erases these words from participating (news) Secularism websites worldwide. This symbolises the importance of free, independent journal- ism and the danger of censorship. It takes away our right to know.

Most censored topics

All over the world journalists struggle with censorship while they attempt to publish about violations and bring abuse of power to light. Autocratic regimes exert pressure on journalists to remain silent about topics like corruption, rigged elections and pro-democracy protests. Information on wars and sensitive conflicts around ethnicity and ownership of land is also heavily censored, like writing about Palestine in Saudi Arabia, Mariupol in Russia, the Uyghur in China, the Kurds in Turkey and the genocide of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda.

The amount of journalists that are being detained without a legitimate reason is increasing overall, and their rights are often not honoured. Numbers show that at least two-third of the journalists are in prison without a process. In 2022, the world’s top five jailers of journalists were Iran, China, Myanmar, Turkey, and Belarus, respectively.

Hero stories

Besides making censorship visible, we also shine a light on the heroic journalists that face arrest, assaults or imprisonment. Each erased word symbolises a cur- rently imprisoned journalist. Through all participating platforms, people can click through to a website on which these words become visible and tell the stories of journalists who faced imprisonment or legal threats through in-depth interviews.

Students “I have been arrested several times. (...) as I investigate corrupt officials, organisa- Bahrani tions and companies, I am always a target. The people I expose try to stop me be- cause they do not want their corrupt affairs to come out.” - Pidson Kareire, Uganda, one of the featured journalists.

Fortunately, Pidson Kareire has managed to win the latest case against him. After this criminal case was dismissed, he filed a charge of torture and the violation of his human rights. These charges will be heard on World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd 2023, in Kampala Civil Court.

The The Erased website features the stories of 5 more journalists who have been Kashgar censored while writing about an erased word. This way we visualise and contextu- alise what happens when we lose press freedom. These journalists are heroes: they were silenced while remaining resilient in doing what mattered most. These erased stories will be told through this campaign, standing up against the censorship put upon them.

Now is the time to come together and fight against censorship. When journalists are silenced, we will raise our voice.


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