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Middle East & North Africa

2010

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New York, February 4, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an Egyptian criminal court’s decision on Tuesday to sentence a journalist to one year in prison and a fine of 60,000 Egyptian pounds (US$10,500) on criminal charges filed by another journalist who is also a member of parliament.

New York, February 4, 2010An Iraqi government plan to impose restrictive rules on broadcast news media represents an alarming return to authoritarianism, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ denounced the rules and called on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his government to abandon their repressive plan.

An Al-Alam journalist reports from Saudi Arabia in 2008. (AP)

New York, February 3, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called for Saudi-run satellite operator Arabsat to return to air the Iranian-owned Arabic-language satellite channel Al-Alam, which stopped broadcasting January 27 without prior notice, according to international news reports.

In a statement published on its Web site, Al-Alam said that “Arabsat, in continuation of its censorship policies and as a move to confront the news networks which reflect the realities of the world, has today once again cut broadcasting of the Al-Alam network.” Al-Alam was previously taken off the air by both Arabsat and the Cairo-based satellite service provider Nilesat in November. Both cited a contractual breach without elaborating further. 

Jailed reporter Shiva Nazar Ahari

New York, February 3, 2010Iranian authorities are now holding at least 47 journalists in prison, more than any single country has imprisoned since 1996, according to a new survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists. While many of the detainees were arrested in the aftermath of the disputed June presidential election, CPJ’s survey found that authorities are continuing to wage an aggressive campaign to round up independent and opposition journalists. At least 26 journalists have been jailed in the last two months alone, CPJ found.

Jordan’s Court of Cassation, the country’s highest judicial authority, issued an opinion last week stating that Web sites can be classified as “publications” and recommending that the Press and Publications Law be extended to online news sites and other electronic media. This decision, while not yet the law of the land, sets a legal precedent that lower courts can reference in future rulings, Jordan Bar Association official Ahmad Ghannam told The Jordan Times

Ben Brik in a 2008 photo. (CPJ/Joel Campagna) New York, February 1, 2010—A Tunisian appeals court on Saturday upheld a six-month prison sentence against journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, one of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s toughest critics, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the decision, the latest development in the politically motivated effort to silence Ben Brik.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, left, and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband at last week's conference in London. (Reuters/Ben Stansal)Ministers and officials representing some 20 Western and Arab governments and international financial institutions declared themselves “friends of Yemen” during last week’s closed-door meeting in London to address threats posed by Al-Qaeda in Yemen, according to news reports. Participants, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, offered assurances that the international community, in addition to providing military cooperation, would work with the Yemeni government to promote human rights and build democratic institutions. But skeptics fear this publicized “friendship” will also provide an opportunity for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to intensify his attacks on political dissent and independent journalism.

New York, January 29, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the latest development in Moroccan authorities’ efforts to silence the independent newsmagazine Le Journal Hebdomadaire. Liquidators took control of the country’s most critical publication this week after a Casablanca commercial appeals court declared on Monday that Le Journal Hebdomadaire’s former publishing group, Media Trust, and its current one, Trimedia, were bankrupt, lawyers told CPJ.

It has been almost nine months since I arrived in the United States. I can't believe how fast life is moving and how different my family’s days are now are from the old days—that was a beautiful time. Everything is changing now. There's no simplicity for us anymore.

Ben Brik, center, after ending a six-week hunger strike to protest Tunisia's human rights record in 2000. (AFP)

“When people want to live, destiny must surely respond. Darknesss will disappear, chains will certainly break!”


Journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, 49, spurred admiration among his relatives and lawyers at a Tunis appeals court on Saturday when he chanted these two verses by Abou El Kacem Chebbi, Tunisia's most well-known poet. This unexpected recitation of Chebbi's verses, which galvanized resistance to French occupation and autocratic rule after the country's independence in 1956, followed the persecuted journalist’s first remarks in court about his ordeal since his incarceration on October 29. It was the first time he had been allowed to speak at his own hearing.

2010

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