Noting that in
country after country, the African press is crippled by a panoply of
repressive measures, the
World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and the World Editors Forum (WEF)
adopted the Declaration of Table Mountain on 3 June 2007 in Cape Town,
South Africa. More
Optimists wanted to believe that the election of the Tunisian activist
Souhayr Belhassen as president of the International Federation of Human
Rights (FIDH) on 26 April 2007 would benefit freedom of speech in her
native country. This weak glimmer of hope did not last for long. More
of the press in Mauritania has improved significantly in the past
years. Yet despite the progress made, the sector still faces a number
of challenges including the training of journalists. More
journalist Ahmed Reda Benchemsi recently won the Samir Kassir Award for
Press Freedom thanks to an article addressing a sensitive topic: the
cult of personality around the king of Morocco. More
A Chinese journalist serving a 10-year prison sentence for revealing his government's orders to newspapers to censor their reporting of the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary, has been awarded the 2007 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize from the World Association of Newspapers.
On 3 May, newspapers around the world will be celebrating World Press Freedom Day. How will your newspaper bring attention to this day? WAN offers a range of materials that media can publish free of charge to celebrate this important day. More
ARTICLE 19 has released its publication 'Defamation ABC' in Arabic and French translations. The ABC is intended both as an accessible introduction to the law of defamation, and as a tool for those interested in progressive reform of defamation statutes, whether lawyers or non-lawyers. More
The decision to publish government secrets is never an easy one, but has become even more difficult since the September 11 attacks, says Bill Keller, Executive Editor of the New York Times, in an exclusive interview with the World Association of Newspapers that is being offered to newspapers world-wide for publication on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May.
On 30 March 2007, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on “Combating Defamation of Religions.” Under the guise of protecting religious sensibilities, WAN has denounced this resolution as a facilitator to the attack on freedom of expression.
Increasing repression by the Tunisian government has caused a "serious deterioration" in press freedom in the country, according to an international coalition of freedom of expression and human rights groups, including the World Association of Newspapers.
Major terrorist attacks and threats against countries world-wide have led to the widespread tightening of security and surveillance measures which all too often are also used to stifle debate, individual liberties and freedom of the press, according to the World Association of Newspapers.
director of New Zealand rugby has called on the International Rugby
Board to drop restrictions on press coverage of the 2007 World Cup,
saying the Board is "improperly seeking to interfere in the gathering
and publishing of news in the short term pursuit of the dollar."
Convened by the independent human rights organisation ARTICLE 19, Global Campaign for Freedom of Expression and the Yemen Female Media Forum, a Media Law Working Group held its first meeting on 21-22 March 2007 in Sanna’a.
I say to Al-Azhar and its university and its professors and preachers who stand against anyone who thinks differently to them: 'You are destined for the rubbish bin of history, where you will find no one to cry for you and your regime will end like others have'. The author of these words, Abdel Karim Suleiman, a 22-year old Egyptian blogger, was sentenced last February to four years imprisonment.
As Tunisian lawyer and cyberdissident Mohamed Abbou began his third year in prison, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) activists demonstrated outside the Tunisian Tourism Office in Paris on 1March 2007 to protest against his continued detention. Mohamed Abbou was jailed two years ago for criticising President Ben Ali in online articles.
The World Association of Newspapers has joined an international day of action calling for the release of Mohamed Abbou, a Tunisian lawyer and human rights activist, jailed for having exercised his freedom of expression.
WAN and the IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group express their serious concern that Tunisian authorities arbitrarily ordered Dar Assabah not to issue its new weekly magazine L'Expression and banned the French magazine Historia Thématique. These are the latest acts in a campaign of state harassment of the media, a campaign that includes censoring publications and jailing journalists, the coalition of 16 press freedom and freedom of expression organisations said.
one year after it hosted the World Summit on the Information Society
(WSIS), the government of Tunisia has failed to address human rights
and freedom of expression concerns, the Tunisia Monitoring Group of the
International Freedom of Expression Exchange said. The Group, which
includes the World Association of Newspapers, appealed to incoming
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to remind the government
of Tunisia of its international obligations.
The World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors
Forum strongly condemn the ban imposed on the Moroccan weekly newspaper
Nichane and the legal proceedings against its publisher, Driss Ksikes,
and journalist Sanaa Elaji.
human rights activists attending a meeting held on 6-7 June in
Casablanca, Morocco, have decided to join efforts by establishing the
Working Group on Press Freedom and Free Expression in North Africa
(WGFENA) following the deteriorating press freedom situation in their
The art director of a Yemeni newspaper was assassinated while in Iraq two more journalists were killed. In Algeria journalists benefited from a presidential pardon while two
journalists were sentenced to one year of prison in Egypt. In Lebanon, an article about Mohamed carried by the French weekly Le Courrier International was censored.
While journalists continue to be killed in Iraq, in Egypt,
journalists were assaulted and in Jordan two editors were convicted for “offending religious feelings” following
the publication in February of the Danish Cartoons depicting the
Prophet Mohammed. In Palestine, journalists are caught between the Israeli occupation and the struggle for power between the Palestinian factions.
among editors in chief is bigger than censorship practiced by security
bodies or governmental institutions, says the 2005 Press Freedom Report
issued by the Federation of Arab Journalists on 3 June in Cairo.
elaborate system of administrative restrictions severely llimits
press freedom in Tunisia today. Despite a constitution that guarantees
press freedom, Tunisian media are far from being free. Financial
reprisals and severe restrictions over the flow of information are the
main methods to keep newspapers under control.
Journalists were convicted in Iraq and Morocco, assaulted in Egypt and detained in Tunisia. Algerian President Abdelaziz Buteflika granted an amnesty to journalists convicted of defamation and three newspapers were allowed to reopen in Yemen. Still, their editors are accused of "offending Islam" for publishing ther Danish cartoons depicting the Prohet Mohammed.
As one of the best selling weeklies in Morocco, Le Journal Hebdomadaire
enjoys a great degree of popularity among readers. This has not,
however, attracted advertising to the newspaper. The publication
believes this lukewarm interest from advertisers is directly linked to
its editorial line. Today, the record damages imposed to the newspaper
in a defamation case could force it close.
Journalists were arrested in Egypt, attacked by armed forces in the West Bank and killed in Baghdad. In Tunisia, a mission of international press organizations said freedoms of expression and of the press reamins well below international standards.
encouraging Arab-language newspapers to take part in its 3 May World
Press Freedom Day campaign by downloading and using specific materials
from the World Press Freedom Day website. Materials are offered free of
charge at www.worldpressfreedomday.org.
in Yemen has deteriorated significantly since 2004. Journalists have
been the targets of numerous attacks. Cases of independent and
opposition journalists arrested, abducted and beaten as well as
publications suspended or banned are regularly reported by press
Iraqi media are
controlled by political and religious sectarian groups, according to a
report on the conditions of culture and media in the country since
March 2003. This and the lack of protection and means are the causes of
the “shameful situation” Iraqi media are in.
In Iraq, the home of a press freedom activist was assaulted. In Morocco, Le Journal Hebdomadaire
was sentenced to pay the highest damages ever imposed to a
publication in Morocco, what could put the weekly out of business. The trial is suspect to have being politically motivated. Saudi journalist Rabah Al Quwai was released. He wasaccused of “denigrating
Islamic beliefs” in his writings. In Tunisia, a second Al-Chourouq journalist went on hunger strike to protest her dismissal.
"I believe it is vital to draw the attention of world public opinion on the state of press freedom in Arab countries in general. With a very few rare exceptions, press freedom there remains a hollow slogan and media professionals are sycophants to regimes hostile to reform in a fast-changing world," so says Algerian journalist and writer Hamid Skiff in an article part of a package of editorial materials being offered by WAN for publication on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day.
In Egypt, a journalist could be imprisoned if he fails to pay a fine after been convicted of defamation while a report comissioned by press agency Reuters found the killing of one of its staff by Us forces in Iraq in 2005 "unlawful."
Association of Newspapers and World Editors Forum have protested to the
Egyptian government against the sentencing of a journalist on libel
charges in a case that comes two years after President Hosni Mubarak
promised to abolish imprisonment for publishing offenses.
Abdallah Al Fayad is the fourth journalist to be kidnapped in Iraq this
year. Also in Iraq, a cameraman for CBS who had been held by the US
forces a year without formal charges will appear in court on 5 April.
Journalists in Algeria and Yemen also face prison sentences for
publishing the cartoons depicting Mohammed.
to Protect Journalists has published a special report on the situation
of freedom of the press in Yemen. The report, entitled "Attacks,
Censorship, and Dirty Tricks”, describes a worsening environment for
publishers and journalists.
In Egypt, a former housing minister withdrew
37 defamation complaints he had lodged against journalists. In Iraq,
two TV reporters have been killed in less than a week and Syria the correspondent in Damascus for An-Nahar Lebanese daily, was released on bail on 7 March, according to report.
In Algeria, Bashir Al Arabi, regional correspondent of the El Khabar daily was freed after serving a one-month prison sentence for defamation. In Egypt, a one-year prison sentence against a journalist of Al Masry Al Youm independent daily was upheld by a Cairo criminal appeals court exactly two years after president Mubarak promised to abolish imprisonment for publishing offences. In Iraq, an Al Arabiya TV Station crew of three was kidnapped and their bodies found the following morning. In Saudi Arabia, the Shams daily was suspended after reproducing the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed earlier published in a Danish newspaper and that have caused great uproar among Muslims all over the world. In Tunisia, journalist Hamadi Jebali and the internet “Group of Zarzis” were released from prison among 1,600 prisoners who received presidential pardons.
Association of Newspapers and World Editors Forum have protested
against a wave of repressive action against editors and other
journalists in Arab and Muslim countries who have published the
cartoons of Mohammed at the centre of the current controversy.
of Arab Journalists (FAJ) has announced plans to establish a center to
monitor press freedom in Arab countries, according to the Al-Mashreq
Al-Ilami news site, which is published by the Arab Media Institute in
a cartoonist has been condemned to a one-year prison sentence and a 50,000 dinars (500 USD)
fine for publishing twelve cartoons of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. In Mauritania the editor of the daily Arabic-language Al Akhbar was attacked by armed men, according to reports. In Morocco, the independent weekly Le Journal Hebdomadaire
has been condemned to pay 3 million dirham (over 325,000 USD) for defamation. It is the
highest fine ever imposed on journalists in Morocco and could lead to
the closure of the publication. A Belgian think tank had alleged the publication had defamated them by criticizing a report on Western Sahara issued by the center.
Association of Newspapers and World Editors Forum have protested to the
Jordanian government against the prosecution of two editors who
published the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm
of Muslim protest around the world.
other countries in the region also faced problems for re-publishing the
controversial cartoons depicting Mohammed that a Danish paper first
published on September 2005, while in Iraq,
kidnappers of American reporter Jill Carroll have
threatened to kill her, and in Morocco a weekly was ordered to pay 500,000 dirhams (US 60,000) in damages for a libel case.
In Jordan, two editors were reportedly arrested on 6 February for the second time in three
days after their publications reproduced cartoons depicting the Prophet
Mohammed. In Yemen, the license of the independent weekly Al Hurriya was revoked,
while the prosecutor has issued a detention order against the
publication’s Editor-in-Chief for publishing the
cartoons. In Morocco, the Spanish daily El Mundo was banned on 2 February for carrying an article written by an exiled Moroccan journalist, while two journalists are
accused of publishing “false information” and publishing pictures of
the royal family without permission and faced a year in prison.
journalists and other media workers were killed world-wide because of
their professional activities in 2005, with 22 of them killed in Iraq,
by far the most dangerous place for journalists on the planet, the
World Association of Newspapers said on Monday 30 January.
In Iraq, a journalist was killed during clashes between US army and Sunni rebels while two others were
seriously injured in a roadside bombing. In Morocco, the trial against Al Ayam weekly was posponed and the editor of the weekly Akhbar al-Ousboua, who had been in prison since 29 September 2004 for libeling a government minister, was released from prison.
In Algeria a journalist for El Khabar
newspaper was arrested and detained after court had found him
guilty of libel on 29 September and sentenced him to a month of firm
prison. In Iraq,
The US-army has released a freelance cameraman for
Reuters who was arrested in May and held in prison without charges. In Lybia cyber-dissident Abdel Razak Al Mansouri marked the first
year of an 18-month prison sentence for posting articles on the
internet criticizing President Muammar Al Gaddafi. In Spain, the High Constitutional Court agreed to re-examine the case against Al-Jazeera reporter Tayseer Alluni. In Tunis two weekly newspapers were seized from newsstands. In Yemen, Women Journalists Without Constraints (WJWC) has published its first report on Press Freedom in the country. “2005 has been a black year for journalism
in Yemen,” it says.
several organizations expressed their concern over the prosecutor
general’s decision to close the investigation on attacks and sexual
harassment by government supporters against female journalists covering
a referendum to amend the Constitution on 25 May 2005. In Iraq, a writer was condemned to 30 years of prison for defamation and the US army released two Iraqi journalists and who had been held several months in Abu Ghraib prison without charges.
International Federation of Journalists protested on 4 January to the
Tunisian government over the blocking of the Federation’s web site in
Tunisia. In recent weeks, following the World Summit on the Information
Society in November when the IFJ sharply criticized restrictions on
Internet use and harassment of human rights activists, the IFJ web site
has been unobtainable.
In Iraq, an American journalist was kidnapped and her translator killed. The Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) has condemned a "campaign against the independent press". A journalist at the Pan Arab TV station Al Arabiya, was stopped from entering the Palestinian Territories by the Israeli authorities. In Sudan, a columnist at Al-Sahafa
newspaper was jailed for writing
that President Omar Al Bashir seems not to worry about the problem's of
fund for journalists, cartoonists, writers and artists subjected to
repression in their countries is the goal of an agreement reached
during the Conference of Freedom of Expression in the Arab World held
in Amman earlier this month.
In Egypt, a journalist is facing legal harassment for writing about corruption. In Morocco, the US-based website Anonymizer that allows internet surfers to avoid censorship have been blocked. In the United Arab Emirates, a
freelance journalist was arrested and had his
passport confiscated for allegedly libeling a
jewelry chain by reporting that it ordered its employees to shave their
beards and moustaches.
In Morocco, a weekly was banned from printing because of a heading while in Somalia threatened STN radio editor Awale Jama has been able to come out of hiding after intervention by the Transitional Government.
In Egypt, more than 15 journalists were prevented from working while covering the third phase of the legislative elections. In Lebanon, Gebran Tueni, publisher of An-Nahar newspaper was murdered on 12 December by a car bomb. In Yemen,
Mohammad Sadiq Al Odaini, secretary-general of the Center for Training
and Protecting Journalist Freedom, was threatened and intimidated
by security officers.
Association of Newspapers today expressed its outrage and sorrow on the
car bomb assassination of Gebran Tueni, its Board Member for Middle
East Affairs. "We condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of Mr Tueni, an
outstanding, brave, and determined publisher and journalist," said WAN,
which called on the Lebanese government to do everything possible to
ensure that the killers are swiftly brought to justice.
In Egypt, journalists keep facing obstacles to cover the legislative elections. In Somalia, a reporter has been jailed by one of the armed factions in the country. In Yemen, journalists and publishers continue to face trials for criticizing authorities.
In Egypt, journalists continue to be harassed and prevented from doing their job while covering the legislative elections. In Somalia, a journalist has been forced to hide due to police harassment. In Yemen, an opposition newspaper has been closed in a deteriorating press freedom environment.
Association of Newspapers’s press freedom review was presented to its
Board, meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 14 November. The report
states that the Middle East and North Africa is one of the most
troubling regions in the world for press freedom, and events in recent
months have proved no exception. More
Association of Newspapers has called on the summit meeting of the
Islamic Conference in December to drop from its agenda an item
concerning caricatures of Mohammed that were published in a Danish
Akbar Ganji, a
leading investigative journalist who is now one of Iran's most renowned
political prisoners, has been awarded the 2006 Golden Pen of Freedom,
the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers.
Without Borders (RSF) has published its annual worldwide press freedom
index. According to the international freedom of expression
organization, there has been none or very little improvement in the
Middle East and North Africa region. More
In Iraq, the hotels were most of the foreign correspondents are based were attacked. Seventeen hotel employees and passers-by were killed and nine journalists injured. In Tunisia, eight oposition figures begun a hunger strike on 18 October to demand respect for freedom of expression.
Abdullah II came to power in February 1999, he expressed his will to
improve the press freedom standards in Jordan. Some steps have been
taken, however, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
APN spoke to Nedal Mansour, president of the Jordanian Center for
Defending Journalists (CDFJ), a non-governmental press freedom
organization founded the same year King Abdullah accessed the throne.
In Iraq, the secretary-general of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate was shot dead; in Somalia a journalist was arrested for the second time in four months; while in Yemen a journalist has received death threats for carrying out his work.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent was sentenced to seven years in prison on 26
September for his alleged collaboration with Al Qaeda. Press freedom
groups have expressed their concern after the verdict and Al Jazeera
reports they will appeal the sentence.
Mahjoub Mohamed Salih, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Sudan’s oldest independent newspaper, Al Ayam,
was awarded the 2005 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom
award of the World Association of Newspaper, for his great contribution
to a free and independent press in his home country. For over half a
century, Salih has confronted obstacles and pursued his work as a
journalist and editor in one of the most restrictive media environments
in Africa. Salih spoke to WAN about the press freedom situation in
Sudan and what has driven him to remain in the profession for more than