Twitter and free speech

You might have noticed one or two stories around recently involving Twitter, the free speech vs privacy debate, and a certain very successful footballer. In fact its the lead story pretty much everywhere today.

Today Amnestys also using Twitter to help promote freedom of speech, though as you can imagine we dont have much interest in the sex lives of football players.

Guests at tonights Amnesty International Media Awards will be helping us to launch a new Twitter action for Eynulla Fatullayev, a journalist whos wrongly imprisoned in Azerbaijan.

Theyll be photographed holding a placard with the slogan Eynulla Fatullayevi azad et! meaning Free Eynulla Fatullayev! in Azeri. Each picture will be tweeted to President Aliyev, who tweets as @presidentaz.

Eynulla Fatullayev has now spent four years in detention on what Amnesty and others believe to be trumped up charges related to his independent, critical journalism. He was the recipient of the Amnesty International Special Award for Journalism Under Threat in 2009, an award which Observer editor John Mulholland collected on his behalf.

John Mulholland and Jon Snow of Channel 4 News are leading the way and tweeting pictures ahead of the ceremony. And wed like you to join them. Were asking people to tweet a picture of themselves holding our free eynulla placard which you can download and print out from our site. Heres the suggested message:

Im calling on @presidentaz to free wrongly imprisoned journalist #Eynulla Fatullayev in #azerbaijan [link to your pic]

With a follow-up tweet linking to the page with instructions for others who want to take the action:

Join me and send your own message urging the release of #Eynulla Fatullayev find out how at

Theres more info on how to take action at and background on Eynullas case here. You can follow all the tweets using the #eynulla hashtag. Hope you can get involved while some people still scoff at Twitter, theres a great story n Amnesty USAs site today about how its already helping get people out of prison

It should be a really inspiring night at the media awards ceremony this evening -  I know who some of the winners are as I was chairing judging meetings, and the entries are really strong. I'm not going to reveal any, butyou'll find out if you folow the #amnestyawards hastag tonight as we'll be live tweeting from the ceremony.

Its the 20th Media Awards, held in the week of Amnestys 50th birthday, so there should be quite a party atmosphere. But at the same time well be recognising (and rewarding) the fantastic work that journalists in the UK and abroad do to expose human rights abuses.

I have a feeling that the love lives of Premier League superstars wont get much of a look in.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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