27 April 2007
Press Freedom Alerts:
Latest Press Freedom News From the Region

In Jordan, the authorities confiscated the videotapes of an interview done on 18 April 2007 by Al-Jazeera journalist Ghassan Ben Jeddou with King Abdallah's uncle, Prince Hassan Bin Talal. The tapes were reportedly seized from Ben Jeddou because he referred to a US report mentioning a Saudi official's involvement in financing Sunnis to fight Hezbollah in the interview.

In Syria, lawyer and human rights activist Anwar Al-Bunni was sentenced to five years in prison by the Damascus criminal court on 24 April 2007, for signing a joint statement calling for better relations with Lebanon. Al-Bunni, who has been held in detention for the past 11 months, was found guilty of "disseminating false information weakening the nation."

In Iraq, Sami Al-Duleimi of the weekly Al-Bashara was ambushed outside his home in Fallujah on 21 April 2007. A car blocked his way and its occupants opened fire, wounding Al-Duleimi and killing his nephew.

In Somalia, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), has denounced the recent wave of violence in Mogadishu and the shelling and shooting of civilians, including journalists and news media personnel. A number of Mogadishu newspapers, including Xog-Ogaal, one of the capital's leading dailies, had to cease publishing because of the increased fighting in the city. Shabelle Media Network has also reported that it is unable to properly cover the situation in Mogadishu as so many of its journalists have fled the city with their families.

In Algeria, officials at the Algiers airport prevented Arezki Aït-Larbi, the Algerian correspondent of the French newspapers Le Figaro and Ouest France, from boarding a flight to France on 26 April 2007. Citing an arrest warrant issued in August 1997, the officials held him at the airport for several hours. Aït-Larbi had finally obtained a passport on 22 November 2006 after waiting for more the six months. Officials told him at that time that his arrest warrant has been cancelled.

Sources for the alerts:
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Paris, France