CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Kamel Labidi

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.

Blog   |   Libya

Anniversary a reminder of Qaddafi's media repression


As Col. Muammar Qaddafi, 67, celebrates the 40th anniversary of his ascent to power this week, it is unlikely that any of the numerous international guests will venture to ask the Libyan dictator or his aides what happened to journalist Abdullah Ali al-Sanussi al-Darrat after his arbitrary arrest 36 years ago. Al-Darrat, a journalist and writer from Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, vanished following his detention without trial in 1973, according to international human rights groups and the Western Europe-based Libyan League for Human Rights.

August 31, 2009 12:26 PM ET


Blog   |   Tunisia

After advocacy, Tunisian sees end of cruel punishment

The government's cruel treatment of Tunisian journalist Abdallah Zouari came to an end on August 1, a reminder that even the most autocratic regimes will yield to international pressure for press freedom. Zouari, a former reporter for the now-defunct Islamic weekly Al-Fajr, had been forced to live under a form of house arrest since his release from prison in 2002 following an 11-year term. Living under what was called "administrative control," Zouari was subjected to strict police surveillance and forced to reside in the suburbs of the southern city of Zarzis, hundreds of miles from his family. No more.

August 24, 2009 1:43 PM ET


Blog   |   Syria

Q&A: Syrian journalist Michel Kilo after prison

ReutersOn May 18, Syrian journalist and pro-democracy activist Michel Kilo was released from prison after serving a three-year sentence for "weakening national sentiment and encouraging sectarian strife." Kilo, who was a regular contributor to the leading Lebanese daily, Al-Nahar, and the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi among other publications, was detained in May 2006 after writing articles calling for the normalization of Lebanese-Syrian relations and an end to a spate of political assassinations in Lebanon. CPJ spoke to Kilo, left, after his release from prison. 
May 26, 2009 12:42 PM ET


Blog   |   Sudan

Executions in editor's murder trigger doubts, outrage


Sudan's execution this week of nine men found guilty of involvement in the 2006 assassination of editor Mohammed Taha Mohammed Ahmed, left, is seen by many there as an outrageous miscarriage of justice, spurred by a thirst on the part of President Omar al-Bashir's regime for settling scores with the rebellious region of Darfur.

April 17, 2009 10:38 AM ET


Blog   |   Tunisia

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 he was free to travel abroad.

March 30, 2009 5:23 PM ET


Blog   |   Saudi Arabia

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 to interrupt sports commentators who were criticizing both the team and the management of the Saudi Soccer Federation.

January 27, 2009 3:14 PM ET