Cannes Lions

#DemandPressFreedom

180 KINGSDAY, Amsterdam / AL JAZEERA / 2018

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Overview

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Overview

Description

The idea was to confront and subvert the unreasonable and unjustified demands being set for Al Jazeera by issuing a series of reasonable and justified demands of our own.

 

At the deadline moment, we interrupted the news with a bold response featuring Al Jazeera journalists outlining demands of our own. The dignified, measured tone of the work contrasted with the lack of reason and hysteria on display in the actions of the instigators of the blockade.

 

We used Al Jazeera’s own media network and news correspondents to issue a rallying cry to uphold its existence, and created a campaign – #DemandPressFreedom – that was an innovative example of truly using the medium as the message.

Execution

It was vital to execute the idea in a fair, balanced, measured and very human way and in doing, occupy the higher ground.

 

We allowed the humanity of our own Al Jazeera journalists and correspondents to juxtapose with the intolerance and tyranny others sought to impose on Al Jazeera specifically, and press freedom globally.

 

We utilized Al Jazeera’s greatest assets – its reporters – to issue our demands in an honest, testimonial-style, at the exact moment the network shutdown was meant to happen.

Direct to camera, in the same fair and frank reporting style the Al Jazeera is known for, the network correspondents demanded freedom, not subjugation. They demanded fairness, not inequality. They demanded expression, not oppression.

Outcome

The outcome that matters the most the Gulf states withdrew their demand to close the network is that Al Jazeera remains open free to continue its important editorial mission to give a voice to the wold’s voiceless.

#DemandPressFreedom became a global rallying call for an issue beyond simply a direct defence of Al Jazeera’s journalistic integrity and right to remain open. 

Independent journalists, human rights groups and other global news organisations took up the baton both in solidarity and as their own. They lent their voices to the cause, ensuring the demands for press freedom were heard around the world. 

Within days, the campaign had been picked up by over 100 news outlets worldwide (including BBC, CNN, Huffington Post, Guardian, El Pais) and viewed online over 40 million times. 

All this was achieved without a traditional media buy

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