14 April 2007
Press Freedom Alerts:
Latest press freedom news from the region

In Syria, Ibrahim Zoro was arrested on 5 April 2007 in Damascus. Zoro was taking part in the organisation of a seminar entitled "The Philosophy of Lies." This Kurdish human rights activist used to post articles on opposition websites based abroad.

In Iraq, a suicide attacker driving a garbage truck packed with explosives blasted near the main entrance of Baghdad TV's offices, killing the station's deputy director, Thaer Ahmad Jaber, and Husain Nizaer, a trainee journalist, and injuring 11 staff, three of whom are in critical condition.

Also in Iraq, Othman al-Mashhadani, a reporter for the Saudi paper Al-Watan, was found dead in Baghdad on 6 April. He was kidnapped on his way home from work.

Also in Iraq, Khamel Mohsin, who was well-known to Iraqis as a TV and radio presenter during the Saddam Hussein era, was kidnapped by gunmen as she left her office on 3 April. Her body was found the day after. She worked for the US government-funded Radio Sawa since Saddam's fall.

Also in Iraq, the burned bodies of Iman Yussef Abdallah and her husband were found in their car in Mosul on 12 April. Abdallah worked as a journalist for a radio station operated by a group of Mosul trade unions. The identity and motives of their killers are unknown.

Also in Tunisia, on 6 April 2007, Lotfi Hajji, head of the Tunisian Journalists Syndicate (SJT), was prevented from attending a reception at the new offices of the Tunisian Progressive Democratic Party located in Tunis, by several political police officers in plainclothes. Reportedly about 15 officers violently pushed him away. It is not the first time that Hajji, a correspondent for Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite-TV channel which remains banned in Tunisia, is prevented from attending meetings. In May 2006, Hajji was briefly detained by the police who accused him of holding a "secret meeting at his home."

In Somalia, the Puntland Information, Telecommunications, Culture and Tourism Ministry banned on 28 March 2007 all unauthorised conferences, lectures and public events about media matters, as well as the creation of media associations.

Sources for the alerts:

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Paris
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels