Current Lebanese media laws exist in the perfect state of chaos. For example, a print journalist who is a member of the Journalists' Syndicate, according to the Publication Law, is protected from administrative arrest for an opinion piece or an article he writes. However, if the same journalist broadcasts the very same opinion and some find it defamatory, according to the penal code, he can end up in jail. Provisions concerning media and journalists are scattered among numerous pieces of legislation like the penal code, the Publications Law, the Audiovisual Media Law, and the Military Justice Code.
Just before a new round of nuclear talks with Iran began on December 6, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung interviewed a high-ranking Iranian official who indicated that two German journalists detained in Iran would possibly be allowed to spend the Christmas holiday with their families at the German Embassy.
Today we released our annual census of imprisoned journalists around the world, citing 145 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of nine from 2009 figures. The tally begs the question, What's in a number?
The last few weeks have been extremely busy for everyone at CPJ as we've been preparing for the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards. Today's press conference in Washington will be followed by a series of events culminating in our awards ceremony Tuesday in New York. As always, the awardees make it special.
The World Association of Newspapers on Wednesday honored the jailed Iranian journalist, Ahmad Zaid-Abadi with its Golden Pen of Freedom Award in the German city of Hamburg. Zaid-Abadi, right, was sentenced in 2009 to six years in prison, five years of internal exile, and a lifetime ban on working as a journalist. He is behind bars in Tehran's Evin Prison where, he told Xavier Vidal-Folch, president of World Editor's Forum, "the desperation that jailers create is such that you are convinced it's the end of the world."
We're pleased to announce the launch of CPJ's official Facebook page in Arabic. We hope it will be a valuable tool for those in the Arab world who share our concerns about press freedom.
The severity of the nearly 20-year jail sentence handed down to veteran Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan, left, has shocked many exiled Iranian journalists and bloggers with whom I've spoken. It's also reinforced their belief that the best way to help jailed colleagues is not through quiet diplomacy but by making a lot of noise.
Tel: +1 (212) 300-9018,
+1 (212) 300-9017
330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY, 10001 USA