Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for an end to media repression in
the Middle East and the Arab World following the launch of Breaking the Chains, the IFJ’s annual review
into press freedom violations in the Middle East and Arab World.
documents the violations of journalists’ rights with a focus on the use of the
law to punish journalists for their work. It reveals that despite commitments
by governments to respect media freedom tens of journalists are still being
prosecuted and jailed across the region each year.
reveals not only the continued abuse of the law by the authorities but, more
importantly, how journalists and their unions are fighting back to create a
free and democratic media environment,” said Aidan White, IFJ General
Secretary. “While there are horrendous situations facing the media in Iran and
the Yemen, the other story here is that the rise in prosecutions is the
response to a more active, independent and courageous journalism emerging
across the region. Journalists are responding to popular demand for independent
news coverage that tackles government corruption and promotes public debate.”
The report was launched today in Cagliari-Sardinia,
at a conference gathering over 100 media professionals to discuss Media Safety,
Freedom and Diversity in the Mediterranean and neighboring zones of conflict. The
launch came immediately after World Press Freedom Day, a day the IFJ marked by
spotlighting the crisis in Iran where over a hundred journalists have been
detained for periods of time since the disputed elections in June including
several members of the leadership of the Association of Iranian Journalists
(AoIJ). Today, Badrosasadat Mofidi, the
AoIJ General Secretary has been detained without charge for over four months
including long spells in solitary confinement.
Yemeni journalists have
suffered from the growing instability of the country with reports of beatings,
abductions, and threats. The review highlights the case of Mohamed
Al Maqaleh, abducted by armed men in September and disappeared for four months
where he was beaten tortured and suffered fake executions before the government
finally admitted they were holding him.
There were numerous cases of
acts of intimidation and jailing of outspoken journalists across the region. Morocco,
a country with a proud record of independent journalism and progressive
governance, has witnessed an alarming rise in charges against journalists, imprisonment
and seizures of newspapers. Harassment and prosecution of journalists have
reached astonishing levels in Iraq.
With this review,
the IFJ has called on national governments in the region, the United Nations,
the European Union, the Arab League, and the African Union to take urgent
measures that can lift the pressures journalists are facing in the region.
As in previous years, the review
has been jointly drafted by the IFJ and its affiliated unions in the region. It
records, as far as possible, legal cases brought against journalists for their
work over the past year. It also identifies the status of legislationaffecting the media in each country and highlighting
the problematic clauses in need of reform, an analysis presented this year by
Article 19, a leading campaign body on international standards of media law and
free expression. It also presents the work of both the IFJ and its members to
address these issues and to improve conditions for journalists.
For the full
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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide