International Federation (IFJ) today called for media reforms and respect of
press freedom as journalists have come under fire over coverage of anti-governments
protests sweeping through the Arab world and the Middle East.
follows reports of bans on free movement of journalists and new attacks on
media in Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Iraq Kurdistan. The authorities have imposed
a media crackdown and are curtailing internet access to try to limit the spread
of information about the current unrest. The IFJ warns that the increasingly
belligerent anti-media rhetoric of the region's embattled leaders is likely to
further endanger the safety of journalists.
are in the firing line as repressive regimes turn to desperate measures to try
to save themselves," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "We are backing
journalists who are fighting for their rights and we condemn the inflammatory
attacks of unscrupulous politicians which can expose our colleagues to mob
According to media
reports some foreign journalists have been refused entry to Bahrain and Libya while
their colleagues inside these countries have come under targeted attack. In
Bahrain last week journalist Michael Slackman and cameraman Sean Patrick Farreall
were shot at by police in a helicopter as they filmed protests in Pearl Square.
is believed to be worse in Libya. According to the French newspaper Le Monde the authorities have accused
foreign journalists who managed to enter the country of having links with the
terrorist group Al Qaeda. President Ghaddafi fuelled the hostility when he used
insulting language in a brief television appearance on Monday, labelling
journalists who reported on his alleged flight into exile as ‘dogs'.
there are fears for the safety of a leading Libyan and Aljazeera correspondent
in Libya, Atef al-Atrash, who has been missing since 17 February following his
report on the revolt in Bengazi, the country's second largest city, said the
Qatar-based cable news channel which says its signal in the country has been
jammed. There are also reports of protesters attacking government media.
The IFJ has
welcomed the decision of Yemeni authorities ordering security forces to protect
protesters and is asking the government to extend the protection to journalists,
many of whom have been victims of violence since the start of the anti-government
be protected and particularly journalists who are reporting from the frontline
of these events," added White. "It is time to end the intimidation campaign
against Yemeni journalists."
the region, the IFJ is concerned over an attack on Naliya Radio Television
(NRT), in Iraq, an independent television network operating in the country's autonomous
region of Kurdistan. An angry crowd besieged the station on Sunday over
reporting on demonstrations in Sulymaniya, according to press reports.
look, we see journalists in the eye of the storm across the region," added
White. "They need support, they need protection and they need to be able to
work in a reformed media environment which respects press freedom and their
rights. It's time for change on all fronts, but particularly in media."
information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than
600.000 members in 125 countries