ICE blogs

March 1, 2016

Arab journalists bear the brunt of press freedom

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism — news_editor @ 12:37 am

Muhamed Hassan outlines the plight of Arab journalists fighting for media freedom

According to an independent Jordanian centre which aims for the protection of journalists and press freedom in the Middle East, the year 2015 proved dangerous for media staffers: 58 journalists died in 19 Arabic states, with 30 of them killed by Daesh, 69 journalists were kidnapped, and 3,863 violations were committed against them. It confirms that Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia as the most dangerous countries for journalists.

Meanwhile, a quick look at the headlines of the two press freedom groups, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) shows how serious the situation is for journalists in Iraq:

1. Mounting deadly danger for journalists in Iraq – 11 May 2015;
2. Journalists targeted for covering anti-corruption protests – 12 October 2015;
3. Kurdish security forces unleash wave of terror on media – 17 October 2015.

Recently, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) in Iraq, revealed that some media teams for Al Hura and Rudaw news outlets were attacked, with their equipment damaged, by official military personnel in recently liberated Ramadi despite obtaining permission to cover their work. JFO wants Iraqi ministries of defence and interior, and international human rights organisations to investigate these incidents.

No doubt the hopes of the ‘Arab Spring’ to usher in democracy and transparency in the Middle East have fizzled out so fast that nothing seems to have changed except that the politicians were evasive enough to camouflage the new era with broken promises.

Many Arab countries are plagued with the emergence of organised terrorism, and the process of democracy has had a battering at the hands of old and newly formed dictators and militant groups.

Journalists are the lifeblood of a truly democratic society. Without their investigative work, politicians and influential figures would find it easy to ride roughshod over the masses. They help shed light on the malpractice of those who are in power.

But to achieve that, they are harassed, kidnapped, imprisoned and murdered, and as long as the Middle East remains volatile and unstable, the battle for press freedom will remain a daily fight.

• See https://immersedinthinking.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/arab-journalists-bear-the-brunt-of-press-freedom/

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