Middle East & North Africa


Attacks on the Press   |   Morocco

Attacks on the Press 2010: Morocco

Top Developments
• Government pressures advertisers, uses courts to punish critical media.
• Authorities obstruct Spanish and other foreign reporters in Western Sahara.

Key Statistic
2: Leading independent weeklies that closed under government pressure. A daily facing harassment moved online.

The government continued using the judiciary to settle scores with critical journalists and pressuring private advertisers to avoid probing publications, two hallmarks of its antagonistic approach to independent and opposition media. The tactics forced two leading independent weeklies to close and a critical daily newspaper to move online.

February 15, 2011 12:24 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Sudan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Sudan

Top Developments
• Censorship intensifies before election; beatings, imprisonments reported.
• Authorities use surveillance, harassment, severe legal restrictions to control news.

Key Statistic
3: Rai al-Shaab journalists imprisoned, one of whom reported being tortured in custody.

Sudanese journalists faced a familiar, toxic combination of censorship, legalistic harassment, and intimidation as a potentially historic national election instead left ruling authorities further entrenched. Self-censorship was widespread among Sudan's beleaguered press, while security agents regularly prevented coverage of topics deemed sensitive, including Darfur, the International Criminal Court (ICC), human rights issues, official corruption, secessionism, and state censorship itself. Repression and political unrest continued after the election as attention turned to a planned 2011 national referendum that could result in full independence for South Sudan. Meanwhile, government restrictions continued to inhibit media coverage of the pressing humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

February 15, 2011 12:14 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Tunisia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Tunisia

Top Developments
• Targeting journalists, government criminalizes contact with foreign organizations.
• Private broadcast licenses are controlled by Ben Ali's family and friends.

Key Statistic
5: Years of imprisonment for violations of new law barring contact with foreign groups.

Tunisia remained one of the region's most repressive nations even as it sought to project an image of liberalism and modernity. The government of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali jailed at least three journalists during the year, one of whom remained in custody when CPJ conducted its annual census of imprisoned journalists on December 1. Vague new legislation targeted critical journalists and human rights defenders by criminalizing international communications that the government deemed harmful to its interests.

February 15, 2011 12:11 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Turkey

Attacks on the Press 2010: Turkey

Top Developments
• Authorities use anti-terror, defamation, security laws to prosecute journalists.
• EU criticizes press record, citing prosecutions, insufficient legal guarantees.

Key Statistic
0: Convictions obtained in the 2007 slaying of editor Hrant Dink.

Authorities paraded journalists into court on anti-terror, criminal defamation, and state security charges as they tried to suppress critical news and commentary on issues involving national identity, the Kurdish minority, and an alleged anti-government conspiracy. The European Court of Human Rights found that Turkish authorities bore culpability in the 2007 slaying of editor Hrant Dink, even as the government struggled to bring anyone to justice in the murder.

February 15, 2011 12:10 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Yemen

Attacks on the Press 2010: Yemen

Top Developments
• Special press and security courts are used to silence probing journalists.
• Redlines bar critical coverage of civil unrest, terrorism, corruption.

Key Statistic
29: Days that reporter Abulelah Shaea was held incommunicado after being seized by security agents.

The government pursued a widening array of repressive tactics, prompting many journalists to say that press freedom conditions had reached their lowest point since the unification of the country's north and south in 1990. Authorities continued to use long-standing practices of extrajudicial abduction, intimidation, threats, and crude censorship to control the news media. But as CPJ documented in a September special report, President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government was also erecting an elaborate legal structure to further restrict coverage and provide a veneer of legitimacy for its actions.

February 15, 2011 12:03 AM ET

Alerts   |   Algeria, Iran, Yemen

Journalists in the Middle East face multiple attacks

A woman walks past riot police standing guard during a demonstration in Algiers on Saturday. (Reuters/Louafi Larbi )

New York, February 14, 2011--As protests spread from Tunisia and Egypt to other countries in the region, journalists have been targeted by security forces, in Yemen, Iran, and Algeria, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Alerts   |   Iran

More than 1,000 supporters urge Iran to end crackdown

Davari (RAHANA)

New York, February 10, 2011--As Iran marks the 32nd anniversary of the country's revolution on February 11, the Committee to Protect Journalists and more than 1,000 press freedom supporters delivered a clear message to Iranian Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei today: Free your country's imprisoned journalists.

Alerts   |   Egypt

Government obstruction, intimidation continues in Cairo

Protesters in Tahrir Square. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)

New York, February 9, 2011--Egyptian authorities are obstructing international news coverage of the country's political crisis by withholding press credentials and, in one instance, invading the home of a foreign journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A well-known Egyptian blogger also remains unaccounted for after being seized by suspected government agents earlier this week.

February 9, 2011 3:43 PM ET


Alerts   |   Jordan

In Jordan, website hacked after running sensitive statement

New York, February 9, 2011--A Jordanian news website was hacked on Sunday after it refused to comply with demands from security agents to remove a critical statement from Jordanian tribesmen, the outlet said. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Jordanian authorities to immediately investigate the attack on Ammon News, one of the most popular news websites in Jordan.

February 9, 2011 10:00 AM ET



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