The agency is helping with comms for the 54-year-old activist, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison last year for subversion. He was honoured by the Nobel Committee at a ceremony in Oslo last week ‘for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China’.
The decision to give the Peace Prize to Xiaobo sparked fury in China, where authorities have accused the Norwegian awards committee of being ‘criminal’ and warned that it would damage relations between the two countries.
Freedom Now works to free individual prisoners of conscience through legal, political and public relations advocacy efforts.
The work, which began during the build-up to last week’s award ceremony, will continue on an ongoing basis.
‘We are still putting people together with Freedom Now as the reverberations and results of what happened last week continue,’ said Freuds’ Toby Burnham, who headed the project.
Freuds provided Freedom Now with a full media outreach strategy and ground support in Oslo to engage the 400-strong press corp – a larger number of journalists than when Barack Obama won the same award last year.
The agency supported and encouraged the symbolic positioning of an empty chair at the ceremony.
‘That was obviously a highly significant image and we knew it would be the image that would resonate around the world,’ said Burnham.
The media attention following the ceremony has increased pressure on China to release Xiaobo and his wife, including a plea from Obama.