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

In Jordan, on 7 April 2007, cameraman Fady Ramhy and reporter Aubaida Dammour who work for Al Ghad TV, a new television station, were assaulted by Jordanian General Security officers while covering a strike of bus drivers at a bus station south of Amman. The strike was held because a policeman had reportedly beaten a bus driver who criticized him for harassing a girl.

In Egypt, Rawda Ahmed, one of the members of the defense team of the blogger Karim Amer who was sentenced last February to four years imprisonment, travelled to Alexandria many times to file the appeal. However, upon discovery that the appeal related to Amer's case, the prosecution refused to process it. Rawda has clashed over this matter with members of the prosecution, who stonewalled and criticized her for defending Amer.

In Egypt also, blogger Abdul-Moneim Mahmud, was arrested on 14 April 2007 at Cairo airport. He was charged with membership of an "illegal organisation" (the Muslim Brotherhood), but his arrest seems to be linked to the photos and reports on the torture of detainees that he posted online.

In France, two journalists with the pan-Arab satellite TV station Al-Arabiya were attacked and beaten by a gang of young people on 18 April during an election campaign report at a market in the Parisian suburb of Montfermeil. The cameraman was attacked first by six or seven masked men. Paris bureau chief Hussein Kneiber tried to intervene but was quickly thrown to the ground. Residents came to their rescue while the assailants fled with their camera. Kneiber said he never had any problems reporting from the Parisian suburbs before and thought the motive for the attack was robbery.

In Tunisia, the newspaper Al-Mawquif has been ordered to leave the building it shares with the opposition Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), to which it is affiliated. The authorities argued that sharing the premises constitutes "improper use of a rental property." The newspaper's editor, Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, and the PDP's president are calling this a violation of the freedom of association and are threatening to go on hunger strike.

In the Palestinian territories, parliamentary security guards in Gaza used violence to disperse a demonstration by Palestinian journalists demanding the release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, who is been held hostage since 12 March. Three journalists were injured in the course of scuffles. More than 100 journalists took part in 17 April demonstration, which was organized after an unknown group calling itself the Monotheism and Jihad Brigades issued a statement claiming it had executed Johnston.

Sources for the alerts:
Arab Archives Institute (AAI), Amman
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo), Cairo
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Paris, France