IFJ Calls for End to Media Repression in Middle East and Arab World

 

The International

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.

 

The review

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.

 

“This report

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

review:

English: http://mena.ifj.org/en/pages/mena-press-freedom

Arabic: http://mena.ifj.org/ar/pages/press-freedom-3

 

 

 

For more information, contact +221 33 867 95 87 
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide