Iranian blogger and human rights activist Shiva Nazar Ahari has been imprisoned on a range of charges, the most serious being 'enmity with god' that carries a death sentence. Sign the online petition for her release here.More
Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Hider Shaea was arrested at his home by armed security forces on 17 August. Mr. Shaea is a reporter for the official Saba News Agency and a contributor to Al-Jazeera who is known for his exclusive interviews with Al-Qaeda leaders as well as his analysis on Islamist groups. (Source: CPJ/IFEX).
The international freedom of expression community has raised concerns at the implications of a provisional law on cyber crimes approved by the Jordanian government as the law risks being used to regulate the Internet and to punish those whose posts upset the authorities by establishing a legal framework for news and information websites. (Source: RSF/ANHRI/IFEX).
Thirty-one IFEX members and22other organisations signed a joint letter to Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, about ongoing violations of freedom of expression in Bahrain.More
To mark the occasion of 8 March 2010, International Women's Day, members of the Tunisia Monitoring Group (TMG), and members of the IFEX Gender Working Group appealed to the UN to raise concerns about the on-going violations of women's rights in Tunisia. More
In an open letter to His Excellency President Ali Abdullah Saleh about the recent sentencing of two journalists, WAN-IFRA condemned the ongoing campaign of intimidation against the press in Yemen by reminding the president that imprisoning journalists for carrying out their professional duties constitutes a clear breach of the right to freedom of expression.More
Asos Hardi, the editor-in-chief and founder of the Awene newspaper in Iraqi Kurdistan, has been awarded the 2009 Gebran Tueni Award, the annual prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) that honours an editor or publisher from the Arab region.More
In an open letter to Michel Suleiman about the recent charge of libel against a Lebanese journalist, WAN-IFRA reminded the Lebanese president that "questioning officials' actions and policies is part of the proper function of independent press and such criticism should be expected by senior political figures". Lebanon is set to host three WAN-IFRA events in 2010.More
The Dubai-based Emarat al-youm daily was taken out of circulation for 20 days in July, following a ruling by the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal. The court ruled to suspend the newspaper following an article published in 2006 alleging "doping of a race horse" owned by two sons of the UAE's president. Managing editor Basel al-Rafiyeh tells APN that surprisingly the suspension had a positive effect. More
The independent satellite news channel al-Libya has resumed broadcast from London after the Libyan government announced in April 2009 that all media would be nationalized. Alongside the crackdown on freedom of the press arise questions regarding Libya's political future. More
Speculation that Egypt's ageing leader could be about to step down and pass power to his son are dominating the Arab press. But although the drama is providing new openings for Egyptian journalists, the underlying politics of presidential succession remain depressingly familiar. More
In April 2008, Robert Menard became the Director-General of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, with the aim to support journalists in distress worldwide and increase press freedom in the region and beyond. This week, Ménard resigned from his position, stating: "The Centre has been suffocated. We no longer have either the freedom or the resources to do our work". More
The World Association of Newspapers is urging publications world-wide to show their support on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, for journalists who put their lives in danger to get the news. "Day after day, journalists investigate and file reports on issues they know can lead to harassment, physical retaliation, arrest, prison and even death. On World Press Freedom Day, newspapers can help their readers better understand the contributions these journalists make to their societies, and the dangers they face in doing so," said Timothy Balding, the CEO of the Paris-based WAN. More
The World Association of Newspapers and World Editors Forum have condemned a resolution approved by the United Nations Human Rights Council on "defamation of religion," calling the measure an attack on the basic human right of freedom of expression. "This decision brings discredit on the UN Human Rights Council, which should not justify censorship and the stifling of dissenting voices," said the Paris-based WAN and WEF, the global organisations of the world's press. More
"In any other democracy, an article like mine that exposes corruption in the government would lead to immediate resignation of the official in question. But in Kurdistan, it unfortunately means immediate arrest of the journalist." In an interview with APN, Soran Omar, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Rega monthly, discusses the consequences he faces for reporting on corruption and abuse of power. A recent article in his paper has led to death threats from anonymous sources and a lawsuit. More
Muntadhar Al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former US president George W. Bush during his surprise visit to Iraq in December 2008, has been sentenced to three years in prison by a Baghdad court. In an interview with APN, Farhad Awni, Director of the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate and member of the Iraqi Media Safety Group said: "Al-Zeidi's conviction was based on outdated laws which date back to the time when Iraq was still a kingdom!". Iraqi media groups are now asking the Baghdad court to review the length and severity of the sentence. More
In a letter to His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, King of Bahrain, the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum have expressed their concern at the censorship of human rights materials published on the internet. The Bahraini government has reportedly blocked links to articles on the Facebook page of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). More
Saudi Arabia recently decided to remove a two-year ban on the London-based Elaph online daily. According to reports, this move is due to a reshuffle in the Saudi government which took place a few days before the decision was made. More
Following a series of incidents, the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum have expressed their serious concern about the press freedom situation in Sudan. Recently, journalists have been detained for their reporting, human rights activists detained and beaten, and foreign journalists expelled from the country. In a letter to President Omar Al Bahir, WAN and WEF call on the Sudanese government to respect international standards of freedom of expression. More
Repression of media in the Middle East and North Africa and its consequences are the focal points of a recent report by the Doha Centre for Media Freedom. "Today, these places remain generally opposed to the free flow of news," the Centre says, adding that this is despite some easing of press laws and a few signs of opening up for greater tolerance. More
Following a series of incidents where journalists have been attacked by security forces, a first-ever event bringing together media and government representatives was held last month in Jordan. The aim of the seminar was to discuss the relationship between journalists and the security forces and the safety of journalists when covering different events. More
"My election as President of Distripress is probably a sign of recognition of the growing importance of the Middle East and some other regions of the world in an industry traditionally dominated by its players in Europe and North America. Many countries in these regions show a healthy development even in the field of the 'classical' printed press products but are at this moment less involved in international cooperation and distribution." APN spoke to Tony Jashanmal, Director of the Jashanmal Group in the United Arab Emirates and the first ever president from the Middle East of Distripress, the largest organisation of companies involved in distribution of print media internationally. More
Seventy journalists and other media employees were killed world-wide because of their professional activities in 2008, with the conflict in Iraq continuing to be the most deadly assignment for journalists, the World Association of Newspapers said Wednesday. More
As journalists tried to cover stories of the provincial elections held in Iraq on 31 January, many of them faced humiliation and assault in the process, media sources say. "Several assaults, arrests, and arguments marred coverage of provincial elections in Iraq at the weekend," said Ziad al-Ajili, Head of Iraq's Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. Many journalists were prevented from covering the polls by both Iraqi security forces and the American army, while others were arrested in Baghdad and other provinces. More
"The Israelis have deliberately targeted journalists. Their houses have been destroyed. Israel claims that this is not the case. But you will see streets full of apartment buildings where only those housing journalists were hit." These are the words of a local journalist who lived the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in December and January. In a recently published report, International Media Support (IMS) assesses the attack on media during the Israel offensive, with the aim to establish an overview of the media situation and the challenges and dangers facing the journalists and photographers who covered the conflict. More
A Cairo appeals court on 2 February upheld the September 2007 convictions for "publishing false information likely to disturb public order" against four Egyptian editors. The appeals court also upheld a 20,000 Egyptian pound fine but struck down a one-year jail sentence on the charges, which were brought for publishing articles criticising president Hosni Mubarak, his son Gamal and several high-level officials. In a letter to the president, the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum have expressed serious concern at the upheld convictions. More
The World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum have expressed serious concern at the upholding of a six-year jail sentence against journalist Abdel Karim Al Khaiwani, despite a presidential pardon having been granted to him in September 2008. Mr Al Khaiwani was jailed in June 2008 on charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation and planning terrorist attacks but was granted a presidential pardon and released in September. The original charge brought against him in 2007 was for publishing information liable to undermine army morale. More
The independent Radio Kalima in Tunisia is under siege since 27 January, and has seen one of its journalists abducted and several of its collaborators harassed by plainclothes policemen since they surrounded the station offices on Tuesday. The members of the IFEX-Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), a coalition of 18 member organisations of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) network, condemn the siege and call on the Tunisian authorities to immediately launch an investigation into the abduction and the harassment of the station's staff and contributors. More
In a letter to Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) calls for an immediate lift of the continued ban on journalists to independently report on event in Gaza. The press freedom organisation also calls on the Israeli authorities to provide an explanation for the IDF's bombing of the Al-Johara and Al-Shuruq towers, which house dozens of international media organizations. More
The publication of a quarter page advertisement in the Egyptian pro-government daily Rosa Al Yousef defaming Tunisian press freedom and human rights activist Sihem Bensedrine has created an outcry among Egyptian rights organisations. "Publishing this Tunisian advertisement is another backward step for this newspaper, which has previously included stories celebrating fictional human rights achievements in the country. Yesterday's article however crossed the line in attacking a woman who is struggling with her colleagues against the brutal suppression machine of Tunisia," the groups said in a statement. More
Considered one of the few truly independent Tunisian journalists, Tahar Labidi, who currently lives exiled in France, says that President Ben Ali's regime has "militarised new technologies" in order to better control them. Labidi believes that the situation in his country is not very different from that of other Arab countries, and that independent media using new communications technologies do not pose a threat to the press in Tunisia. It's greatest threat, he says, is its own reactionary content, of scant interest to readers and out of touch with the needs and demands of Tunisian citizens. More
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has welcomed the King of Jordan's expression of support for press freedom after he said that journalists should not be jailed for their work. "His Majesty's statement reinforcing his opposition to the jailing of journalists is a very significant step for press freedom in the kingdom," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. More
While welcoming the pardon of Egyptian editor-in-chief Ibrahim Eissa, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and the World Editors Forum (WEF) express their concern regarding the general press freedom situation the country. More
"For a journalist who wants to remain free in Syria, the only real choice is to be prepared to be arrested at any time," says Faraj Bayrakdar, a Syrian journalist who lives in exile in Sweden since three years back. Before that, he spent altogether 14 years in prison in his home country. In an interview with APN, Bayrakdar speaks of his fight for freedom and of the working conditions of journalists in Syria. More
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) founder and chief, Robert Menard, announced his resignation on Friday. Menard is said to want to explore other avenues and will be replaced by Jean-Francois Julliard, 35. Menard has had a significant impact at Reporters Without Borders and shot to fame earlier this year with calls for a boycott on the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games and for his outspoken condemnation of China's crackdown on Tibetan protesters. More
Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi photographer for The Associated Press, is one of five journalists to win the annual International Press Freedom Awards, handed out by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Hussein risked his life covering Ramadi and Fallujah in the volatile Anbar province in western Iraq, and his 2004 photo of Iraqi insurgents firing on U.S. troops during the battle of Fallujah helped AP win a Pulitzer Prize in photography. This same photo may also have led to Hussain's detention by the U.S. military. Hussein was arrested by U.S. forces in April 2006 and held for two years without charge. His case illustrates the U.S. military's alarming tactic of open-ended detentions of Iraqi journalists. All of the detained journalists have ultimately been released without any charges ever being substantiated against them. More
"Most of our media outlets, including the national TV, have become mere mouthpieces for propaganda and incitement or either Fatah or Hamas," says Palestinian territories-based journalist Khalid Amayreh, who denounces the way Fatah is trying to consolidate its domination by silencing adverse voices. More
Border police at Tunis-Carthage International Airport barred journalist Sihem Bensedrine from leaving the country as she prepared to board a Vienna-bound flight on 19 August. After submitting to a thorough search of her handbag and a back pack containing her laptop, during which customs officials meticulously combed through personal documents, Bensedrine was told to follow the agents to an office. Finding no valid reason to do so, she refused, at which point several plainclothes men who did not identify themselves took over. More
An independent report has fund that no militant activity was taking place in the Gaza strip area where Fadel Shana, a Palestinian cameraman working for Reuters, was killed by Israeli gunfire on 16 April this year. APN spoke to Mark Thompson, managing editor of Reuters Europe, Middle East and Africa, about the findings of the report and how Israel has responded to the inquiries. More
Palestinian journalist Naela Khalil has won this year's Samir Kassir Award for her article "Palestinians pay the price of hatred", published on 14 March 2008 on the Arab Media Internet Network. The article denounces human rights violations in the Palestinian territories and the total impunity of those who commit such acts.
Journalists' Unions and Associations representing thirteen different countries from throughout the Arab World and Iran meeting in Casablanca at a regional meeting of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called on 19 May upon the Yemeni authorities to drop charges against journalist Al Khaiwani and to take measures to guarantee his safety.
The World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum have protested to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika against the jail sentences imposed against two leading journalists for a column criticising a local official.
For the first time in Iraqi Kurdistan, a criminal defamation lawsuit has been filed against a newspaper. Abid Aref, editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Hawlati, was sued by the President of Iraq Jalal Talabani on 29 January for the publication of a report by U.S. scholar Michael Rubin. The report was critical of the Talibans. APN spoke to Aref about the press freedom situation in this part or Iraq.
An Iraqi journalist said on Monday gunmen went on a killing spree in his Baghdad home, murdering seven children and four adult relatives in the latest assault on media staff in the war-scarred country.
on 7 April 2007, cameraman Fady Ramhy and reporter Aubaida Dammour who
work for Al Ghad TV, a new television station, were assaulted by
Jordanian General Security officers while covering a strike of bus
drivers at a bus station south of Amman.
detained writer and journalist Michel Kilo was condemned by a criminal
court in Damascus on 26 March 2007, for signing in May 2006 the
"Beirut-Damascus, Damascus-Beirut" joint statement. More
In Morrocco, Azzedin Gaiz, a correspondent for the national daily Yawmiyat Ennass, filed a complaint to the prosecutor's office in the city of Khénifra on 30 January 2007. According to reports, Gaiz had received several anonymous calls in the past month, telling him to stop writing if he wanted to live.
In Somaliland, Haatuf newspaper chairman Yusuf Abdi Gabobe, editor-in-chief Ali Abdi Dini and journalists Mohammed Omar Sheik and Mohammed Rashid Farah were sentenced by Hargeisa court on 4 March to jail terms ranging from 24 to 29 months.
several organizations expressed their concern over the prosecutor
general’s decision to close the investigation on attacks and sexual
harassment by government supporters against female journalists covering
a referendum to amend the Constitution on 25 May 2005. In Iraq, a writer was condemned to 30 years of prison for defamation and the US army released two Iraqi journalists and who had been held several months in Abu Ghraib prison without charges.
In Morocco, a weekly was banned from printing because of a heading while in Somalia threatened STN radio editor Awale Jama has been able to come out of hiding after intervention by the Transitional Government.
In Egypt, more than 15 journalists were prevented from working while covering the third phase of the legislative elections. In Lebanon, Gebran Tueni, publisher of An-Nahar newspaper was murdered on 12 December by a car bomb. In Yemen,
Mohammad Sadiq Al Odaini, secretary-general of the Center for Training
and Protecting Journalist Freedom, was threatened and intimidated
by security officers.
In Egypt, journalists keep facing obstacles to cover the legislative elections. In Somalia, a reporter has been jailed by one of the armed factions in the country. In Yemen, journalists and publishers continue to face trials for criticizing authorities.