Newsletter No 26 18 April 2006
Press Freedom:
Latest Press Freedom News from the Region

In Egypt, the Ministry of Interior is pursuing freelance journalist Ayat Al Sherbeeny to collect the 20,000 Egyptian pounds (3,480 USD) he was fined with in a libel case, according to reports.

Al Sherbeeny was ordered on 9 April to pay the fine after a Ministry of Culture official filed a case against him for an article published in the official Rose al Youssef newspaper on 23 November 2005. Al Sherbeeny will be imprisoned if he fails to pay the fine, the reports said.

The Egyptian Journalists Union and Rose al Youssef are hoping to convince the official to drop the case.

In Iraq, the killing of Reuters' soundman Waleed Khaled was “unlawful”, according to an inquiry the news agency commissioned.

Khaled was shot on 28 August 2005 in Baghdad as he drove with cameraman Haidar Kadhem to cover an attack on Iraqi police. Kadhem was wounded and reportedly taken by US forces to an undisclosed location for three days.

The inquiry, carried out by Risky Advisory Group (TRAG), concluded that the use of force by US troops was neither proportionate to the perceived threat nor justified.

Kadhem was filming through the windshield and at one point he leaned out the window, Reuters said. At that moment, 17 bullets impacted the car. The report said that the car was stationary when US soldiers opened fire.

According to the report, “shots were fired to kill or injure the occupants” and not to disable the vehicle.

Reuters has given a copy of the report to the US military. A former US Army investigation said its troops acted within rules of engagement that allow them to open fire if they feel threatened.

Sources for the alerts:
Arab Press Freedom Watch (AFPW), London
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York
International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Canada
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), France