Vice Media Blacks Out 100 Digital Channels in Plea to #FreeRasool From Turkey

Co-founder Shane Smith urges continued pressure on Turkish authorities to free imprisoned journalist Mohammed Rasool

Last Updated: October 21, 2015 @ 8:25 AM

Vice Media blacked out nearly 100 digital channels globally on Wednesday in a plea to free its journalist Mohammed Rasool, who’s been imprisoned in Turkey for two months.

The media company went black at 10 a.m. ET and will stay that way until noon ET. All home pages from Vice’s nearly 100 digital outlets, will be black in a call for the release of Rasool, who was imprisoned in Turkey while on assignment for Vice. The black homepages allow readers to sign a petition calling for his release.

“The very existence of democracy relies on a free and thriving fourth estate,” Vice founder Shane Smith said. “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.”

Rasool and his colleagues Phil Pendlebury and Jake Hanrahan were arrested and detained by Turkish police on charges of assisting a terrorist organization while reporting in southeast Turkey. Pendlebury and Hanrahan were released after 11 days, but Rasool still languishes in a maximum security anti-terror prison.

The Committee to Protect Journalists also called for Rasool’s release, citing the “tremendous injustice” that showcases the “arbitrary, capricious, and punitive nature of the Turkish criminal justice system.”

“It is also a reminder of the essential role of media support staff, the fixers, stringers, translators and drivers who risk their lives to bring us the news,” CPJ executive director Joel Simon said.

#FreeRasool is trending on Twitter as many call for his immediate release.