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.
Jordanian journalists succeeded this week in turning back some of the most repressive aspects of a new law on cyber crimes. The initial version of the law, approved by the cabinet of ministers on August 3, included broad restrictions on material deemed by the state to be defamatory or to involve national security. It also allowed law enforcement officials to conduct warrantless searches of online outlets. Facing domestic protests and international pressure from CPJ and others, the cabinet revised the measure on Sunday.
The National Press Club has announced the recipients of the 2010 John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award, which is given each year to individuals who have contributed to the cause of press freedom and open government. This year, the international recipient is Iranian blogger Kouhyar Goudarzi, who is being held in Tehran's Evin Prison--notorious for its torture of detainees. CPJ wrote earlier this month about a hunger strike in Evin in which several political prisoners, including at least five journalists, protested their inhumane treatment. Goudarzi was one of the protesters. Arrested in December 2009, Goudzari, a former editor of Committee of Human Rights Reporters, has been charged with heresy, propagating against the regime, and participating in illegal gatherings.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.