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Rally For Detained Reporter

Medill rally urges freedom for detained grad

April 25, 2011 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A rally in support of James Foley, an American journalist detained by Libyan government forces since April 5, will take place on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus Wednesday, April 27. Foley received his master’s degree in journalism in 2008 from Medill.

Foley -- a 37-year-old journalist working for the online news publication GlobalPost --was picked up by forces loyal to Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi while he was reporting in an area that has seen heavy fighting between rebels and Qaddafi supporters. He was among four foreign journalists detained.

The rally to free Foley will take place at 1:30 p.m. in front of Crowe Hall, 1860 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. 

“Jim Foley is an excellent  journalist,” says Medill Dean John Lavine who will speak at the rally. “He was reporting in Libya and was thrown in jail for telling the people of the world what is happening in that conflict. Our faculty and students are working hard to protest Jim's detention. Jim took great personal risks so citizens inside Libya and around the world are better informed. We urge the Libyan regime to immediately release him."

“The number of journalists who have been detained in Libya is of enormous concern,” says Ellen Shearer, William F. Thomas Professor at Medill and co-director of the school’s National Security Journalism Initiative.  

"Many, like Jim, are freelance reporters who don't have the benefit of large media organizations to keep the pressure on, although GlobalPost has certainly been strongly pushing for Jim's release,” Shearer adds. “But the more public attention that can be brought to Jim's detention, the better.”

Members of the Northwestern community and individuals across the nation are urged to sign petitions to free Foley and the other journalists being detained by Libyan forces. 

Topics: People, Campus Life