The Committee to Protect Journalists joined 25 human rights and civil society groups today in signing an open letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is due to address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday about steps toward an open and effective relationship with the United Nations Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.
Today, CPJ joined 10 local and international organizations in sending an open letter calling on King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the Bahraini government to release photojournalist Ahmed Humaidan and dismiss all charges against him. The letter calls on the government to fulfill Bahrain's obligations under international law and its commitments under the 2012 Universal Periodic Review by the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy has been languishing in an Egyptian prison since December. He is waiting for an appeal hearing on his seven-year sentence for "conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood," but it is the murder of American freelancer James Foley, rather than his own unjust sentence, that has made the Cairo bureau chief furious. Fahmy sees the solidarity in response to Foley's killing as an opportunity to gain global support for distressed journalists in Egypt.
Jordan's press freedom climate, once a shining light in the Middle East, has quickly deteriorated as journalists grapple with last year's government ban on nearly 300 news websites.
Press freedom groups are documenting a rise in self-censorship and an increase in criminal cases against journalists. Local online news editors and journalists are complaining of economic hardship and psychological pressure.
On Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed its concerns over the press freedom climate in Iraqi Kurdistan at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. where we launched our special report, "Mountain of impunity looms over Kurdistan journalists." You can watch a video of the press conference here.
CPJ joined 26 other human rights and civil society groups on Wednesday in an open letter calling on the member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of Ahmed Shaheed, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. The public letter also urged the members to participate in the March 17 Interactive Dialogue with the special rapporteur and to express concern over the severe violations of human rights, including anti-press abuses, in Iran.
Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined other leading international media freedom and human rights organizations, including Article 19, Index on Censorship, and Reporters Without Borders, in calling on the European Union and United States to demand Egyptian authorities drop charges against Al-Jazeera journalists and release those under arrest.
Egypt is going through a tough transition and journalists are paying a considerable toll. Since the July 3 removal of President Mohamed Morsi, at least five journalists have been killed, 30 assaulted, and 11 news outlets raided. CPJ has documented a total of 44 cases of detention, and at least five journalists remain behind bars. The attacks on the press come amid a broad campaign by the interim military-led government to limit coverage of the Muslim Brotherhood and force the media to toe the official line.
Yesterday, the Committee to Protect Journalists launched a campaign calling for serious investigations into the deaths of eight journalists in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011. CPJ hopes that the current military-led government will lead impartial and serious inquiries into the events surrounding the killings no matter who was in power at the time.
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