After a rally of historic proportions convened Sunday in Paris to honor the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, outraged participants are calling attention to the world leaders who marched but fail to protect free speech and the press in their own countries.
Delphine Halgand, the U.S. director of Reporters Without Borders, spoke Monday with HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps, explaining that, while the solidarity demonstrated by millions has been moving, she was struck by "strange" presence of representatives from Turkey, Russia and Egypt.
"There’s more than 16 journalists in jail in Egypt right now," she said. "Turkey has been cracking down on its media and its journalists [for] many years, and you remember when last year they even cut YouTube?"
Halgand questioned the motives of "press freedom predators" in attendance at a "rally which is mainly to pay tribute to victims of terrorist attack, but also a rally which was clearly defending fundamental freedoms, including press freedom."
She denounced the leaders' "attempt to try to take advantage of the emotion to try to improve their international image."
Twitter was also ablaze with comments condemning the leaders. Daniel Wickham, the co-president of the Middle East Society at the London School of Economics, garnered widespread attention for a series of tweets addressing the hypocrisy:
1) King Abdullah of Jordan, which last year sentenced a Palestinian journalist to 15 years in prison with hard labour http://t.co/giZg7JounI— Daniel Wickham (@DanielWickham93) January 11, 2015
2) Prime Minister of Davutoglu of Turkey, which imprisons more journalists than any other country in the world http://t.co/sLCJaZprex— Daniel Wickham (@DanielWickham93) January 11, 2015
3) Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, whose forced killed 7 journalists in Gaza last yr (second highest after Syria) http://t.co/w74zqVHZf9— Daniel Wickham (@DanielWickham93) January 11, 2015
4) Foreign Minister Shoukry of Egypt, which as well as AJ staff has detained journalist Shawkan for around 500 days http://t.co/xzVRgmkM1g— Daniel Wickham (@DanielWickham93) January 11, 2015
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