Newsletter No 1 28 September 2005
Press Freedom:
Latest Press Freedom News from the Region

» In Jordan, the weekly Al Wahda was banned by the authorities on the night of 19 September, while the next day’s issue was being printed. The paper included an interview with Dr. Safyan al Tell, an expert in ecology and a political activist. In the interview, Al Tell reportedly spoke about corruption in the country and the control of the army over the state. The newspaper’s editor in chief, Amer al Tell, said the authorities had not given him any reason for the banning.

» In Lebanon, May Chidiac, a well-known journalist at the Lebanese Broadcasting Network, was critically injured on 25 September by a bomb placed under her car. As a result of the attack, the journalist lost her left hand and leg. Chidiac presented the evening news and hosted a political debate on LBC, which is considered close to the anti-Syrian opposition. The attack comes almost four months after Samir Kassir, journalist at the Al Nahar newspaper, was killed on 2 June by a car bomb.

» In Tunisia, journalist Hamadi Jebali started a second hunger strike on 15 September in protest against his prison conditions. Jebali, former editor of Al Fajr, the now-defunct weekly newspaper of the banned Islamic Al Nahda party, was imprisoned in 1991 for an article in which he called for suppression of military courts in Tunisia. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison along with 279 others accused of belonging to Al Nahda. International human rights groups monitored the trial and concluded that the proceedings were far below international standards. Jebali went on a first hunger strike from 9 to 25 April this year, demanding better prison conditions.

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