Free-to-share-movie "Courage": everything you need to know about press freedom

"Courage - journalism is not a crime" is a film everyone should see. It tells the story of three journalists working under repressive regimes, three men who chose press freedom despite harassment, imprisonment and torture. "The Post" meets today's reality.

Erdem Gül in COURAGE Turkish journalist Erdem Gül in "Courage - journalism is not a crime"

"Courage - journalism is not a crime" is a deeply touching and gripping movie about press freedom that goes to the very core of it: no freedom without press freedom.

Danish investigative journalist and filmmaker Tom Heinemann ("The Carbon Crooks", "The Micro Debt") tells the bitter, but empowering stories of three tremendously brave journalists dealing with the situation of press freedom in their home countries. Every single one of them has been threatened, harassed, and thrown to jail for doing his job, for informing people about what is going on. Lawi Weng, Senior Reporter at "The Irrawaddy" in Myanmar, Erdem Gül, office-chief Ankara of "Cumhuriyet" in Turkey, and Emin Huseynov, founder of the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, in Azerbaijan.

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Also ECPMF chairman Henrik Kaufholz took part in the movie. In an interview he spoke about the Centre's work, and how to deal with repressive regimes cracking down on media freedom in Europe.

Director's statement:

“Courage – Journalism is not a crime”, is one of the most challenging projects I have ever worked on. How can you tell the story of three journalists without risking their lives and safety further? Why did we pick them instead of the hundreds of other journalists suffering just as much? 

After meeting Lawi Weng from Myanmar, Emin Huseynov from Azerbaijan and Erdem Gül from Turkey, the decision was not difficult. These brave men have all suffered the consequences of repressive regimes, dictatorships and the lack of freedom of expression.

They have been unrightfully jailed, tortured and convicted for what they truly believe in. As journalists they have all decided not to stay silent. They deserve our biggest respect.

In a fairly well functioning country like Denmark freedom of the press is hardly an issue. Here critical, investigative journalism is being awarded – not gagged and suppressed as we see in more and more countries – even inside the EU.

We must all stand up for our colleagues and I am deeply grateful for the many interviews with some of the key players who are trying to improve, enlighten and find solutions to prevent the numerous attacks on journalists and independent media.

Without them, I might never have heard about Erdem Gül, Lawi Weng and Emin Huseynov.

My film is free-of-use for anyone who shares the view that every country should respect freedom of the press as a fundamental right.

Collaborating with some of the leading organisations working for this, it is my sincere hope that we can pave the way for a better future for critical, investigative journalism.

Not only for Emin Huseynov, Lawi Weng and Erdem Gul – but for all of us.

Tom Heinemann