Kamel Labidi/CPJ Middle East Representative

Kamel Labidi is a freelance journalist and former CPJ representative and consultant for the Middle East and North Africa region. Labidi returned from exile to Tunisia in 2011 to head the National Commission to Reform Information and Communication. He resigned in 2012 to protest the lack of political will of the Islamist-led government to implement the commission’s recommendations.

After CPJ letter, Tunis grants journalist freedom to travel

Nearly a week after CPJ sent a letter to Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali urging him to end the “ongoing cycle of repression of critical journalists and media outlets,” Tunisia’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights told Mohamed Abbou, a prominent human rights lawyer and writer, in a phone call on Saturday that…

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Saudi prince threatens sports commentators

Saudi Prince Sultan bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz made an unexpected phone call last week to a live talk show on a Saudi sports channel. The prince made the angry call to Al-Riyadiyya from Mascat, Oman, on January 17 after he’d watched Oman’s national soccer team defeat Saudi Arabia in the Gulf Cup. He picked up the phone…

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Rice, Tunisia in press reform dance

Tunisia’s media, one of the most muzzled in the Arab world, reported for the first time a couple weeks ago that a high-ranking U.S. official had raised the issue of reform with the country’s autocratic ruler, who is also a zealous supporter of President George W. Bush’s war on terror. The official was Secretary of…

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Egyptian journalists face the trials of September

Many in Egypt still dread the month of September. Twenty-seven years ago, the government arbitrarily jailed hundreds of civil society activists of different political and religious leanings, including journalists. The capricious crackdown, which occurred only a few weeks before President Anwar Sadat’s assassination on October 6, 1981, by a radical Islamist was spurred by unsubstantiated…

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Hormatallah released from “cemetery for the living”

The release of Mustafa Hormatallah, a Moroccan editor at the independent weekly Al-Watan Al An, prompted a memorable scene on July 25 as he exited Akacha Prison in Casablanca, Morocco’s most populous and business-oriented city. Scores of well-wishers including relatives, friends, and representatives of the of the National Syndicate of the Moroccan Press and human…

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