A joint delegation of the Federation of Arab Journalists (FAJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) visited Cairo, Egypt on 30 May to request support of the League of Arab States (LAS) for the Declaration on Media Freedom in the Arab World, which aims to defend independent journalism in the Arab world.
LAS General Secretary, Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and the Assistant General Secretary and Head of the Media and Communication sector at the LAS, Dr. Haifa Abu-Ghazaleh, welcomed the joint delegation led by FAJ President Mr. Moaid Al-Lami, and IFJ Senior vice-president, Younes Mjahed. The delegation presented a summary of the initiative to adopt the “ Declaration on Media Freedom in the Arab World”, a document developed and signed by unions from the Arab world, national human rights organisations, journalists and media organisations. It has also been endorsed by six Arab countries, so far: Palestine, Tunisia, Jordan, Sudan, Morocco and Mauritania.
The presentation stressed the importance of providing the necessary guarantees to enhance press freedom, respecting journalists' social and professional rights. The visiting delegation also underlined the need to enable the flourishing of a professional and independent Arab journalism, capable of assuming its positive role in the political, economic and social development in the Arab world.
The delegation expressed its hope for the LAS’s support of the Declaration, saying it would send a clear message that the independent and professional media is a cornerstone of the comprehensive and sustainable development most Arab countries pursue.The delegation stressed the importance to support and invest in this project which aims, through an Arab Mechanism to protect media and press freedom, to serve the public interest.
The LAS General Secretary praised the constructive dialogue and positive cooperation between the LAS and the FAJ, and stated that the LAS is open to pursue this path. He added that he will refer the "Declaration of Media Freedom in the Arab World" to the Council of Arab Ministers of Information for discussion at its next meeting.
The delegation also included the FAJ General Secretary Khaled Miri, FAJ Vice President Nasser Abu Bakr, FAJ Director Fathi Yousef, and Monir Zaarour, IFJ Middle East and Arab World Policy and Programme Director.
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The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries