Attacks on the Press



The cases of press freedom violations described on this website were investigated and verified by CPJ's research staff, according to CPJ strict criteria.



Algeria

Year in Review: 1995

Algeria has been embroiled in a brutal civil war since 1991, when the army intervened to halt the electoral process and prevent the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) from winning parliamentary elections. Western intelligence suggests that some 50,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

For journalists, the conflict has created frightful obstacles: They face censorship, prosecution and imprisonment--and all of them work under threat of death. Since May 1993, more than 50 journalists have been murdered.

Journalists are not the only professionals under attack. Intellectuals, doctors, teachers and foreigners have all been targeted as well. But members of the media are disproportionately represented on the militants' death lists.

In 1995 alone, 24 journalists were brutally assassinated because of their profession, making Algeria the most dangerous country in the world for the press for the second consecutive year. Some journalists escaped assassination attempts; still others are living in exile or are missing and feared dead. Most of the murders and attacks appear to be the work of Islamist opponents of the regime, especially the radical Armed Islamic Group (GIA). In June 1995, the second anniversary of the GIA's murder of the novelist and editor Tahar Djaout, CPJ, along with 16 other organizations worldwide, issued a joint declaration to all parties in the Algerian conflict and to the international media calling for the restitution of press freedom and other human rights in Algeria.

For the first time, the assassination of female reporters became commonplace in Algeria; six were murdered in 1995. The killing of family members of media employees also increased.

Members of the media have become pawns in the warring parties' deadly game. Fundamentalist rebels use the assassination of journalists as a way to get into the news. And the government exploits the brutal murders of journalists and intellectuals as a propaganda tool to bolster international support for its all-out war against "barbarism." [See Special Report: Algeria, p. 193.]

The government has provided inadequate protection for journalists and levied restrictions that have further imperiled them and made objective reporting all but impossible. Islamists have been suspicious of Algerian journalists, particularly those working for state news outlets or independent papers with an anti-fundamentalist line. These journalists are seen by opponents of the regime as puppets of the security forces. The government has reinforced this perception by monopolizing the distribution of information. Last year the Interior Ministry sent a secret directive to all members of the national media forbidding independent coverage of what it deemed to be security matters. As a result, independent and opposition papers are caught between a rock and a hard place. Either they censor their own news stories (in which case they face the wrath of Islamists), or they expose themselves to prosecution and their publications to lengthy suspensions. Either they reprint Algerian Press Service (APS) stories or ignore security matters altogether.

Government censorship takes many forms. In addition to the blanket censorship of security matters, the authorities use more subtle means to constrain political discourse in the press. The government controls the supply of newsprint and owns the printing presses and is thus able to put economic pressure on newspapers. When subtle means fail to restrain the press, the Interior Ministry suspends publications and summons reporters to court.

The government impedes independent reporting by foreign journalists as well. It denies them visas, as in the case of Gilles Paris, a journalist with the French daily Le Monde who wanted to travel to Algeria to cover the November presidential elections. The government also cites security concerns to prevent foreign correspondents from traveling independently and meeting with opposition figures.

The November presidential elections were preceded by an escalation both in violence against the press and in government censorship. During the campaign, editors were warned that if they printed calls to boycott the election or published anything that might discourage voter participation, they would face prosecution for civil disobedience. Several issues of the independent weekly La Nation were confiscated during the campaign, and its director was summoned to the prosecutor's office.

The government reserves its worst treatment for journalists it believes to be sympathetic to the Islamists. An APS correspondent accused of using the agency's internal wire to report the transfer of imprisoned FIS leaders was sentenced to three years in prison. Two journalists have disappeared in police custody. The first is Djamel Fahassi, a reporter with the government-run French-language radio station Alger Chaîne III and a former contributor to Al-Forqane, the organ of FIS that was banned in 1992, who has been missing since he was secretly arrested in May. Fahassi had been imprisoned in 1992 and later returned to work at Chaîne III. The second, Ali Ben Si Ali, is an Algerian free-lance journalist who contributed to opposition newspapers in Egypt, where he served as a contact between Western journalists and Islamic groups. He was deported from Egypt in July 1994 and arrested upon his arrival in Algiers. His whereabouts remain unknown.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

January 6, 1995

Zineddine Aliou Salah, Liberté KILLED

Aliou Salah, an investigative reporter for the independent French-language daily Liberté, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen in the late morning as he was leaving his home near Blida, south of Algiers. According to his colleagues, Aliou Salah's name was on a fundamentalist rebel group's death list that was displayed at mosques in Blida. In a press release, CPJ condemned his murder.

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Algeria

January 6, 1995

Ali Abboud, Radio Chaîne 1 KILLED

Abboud, adjunct editor in chief of the state-owned Arabic-language Radio Chaîne 1, was shot in the head by unidentified assailants near his home in Birkhadem, in southern Algiers. He died of his wounds the next day, at Aïn Najda military hospital, without having regained consciousness. CPJ condemned the killing in a press release that called on all parties to the Algerian conflict to recognize the status of journalists as noncombatants.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

January 12, 1995

Abdelhamid Yahiaoui, El Chaab KILLED

Yahiaoui, a copy editor with the government-controlled Arabic daily El Chaab, was abducted as he left his home in Baraki, on the outskirts of Algiers, on his way to meet a friend. The next day his body was found, some 100 meters from his house, with two bullet wounds to the head. CPJ condemned the killing in a letter to President Liamine Zeroual that urged the government to do more to protect journalists.

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Algeria

January 14, 1995

Mohamed Zaaf, ANSA IMPRISONED

Fifteen masked policemen raided the home of Zaaf, a stringer with Italy's ANSA news agency. While his wife was locked in another room, policemen arrested Zaaf. According to the official Algerian Press Service, he was arrested for harboring a suspected Muslim guerrilla. CPJ wrote to the Algerian government asking for an explanation of Zaaf's arrest and received no reply.

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Algeria

January 21, 1995

All broadcast journalists THREATENED

In a communiqué, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) said it would "strike with force" any journalist working with state-controlled Algerian radio or television who did not cease working immediately. The group accused journalists of propping up "the rotten apostate regime" and called them "the mercenary media that extol it, apologize for its crimes, conceal its atrocities and cover up its ugliness for the simpleminded, to the extent that the media and its written, audio and visual agencies constitute a violent power, sharpening the arrows of its poisonous pencils, blackening . . . white pages with untruths and lies." The statement adds that "the legitimate position of the Armed Islamic Group toward radio and television journalists is the same as its established position toward apostates."

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Algeria

January 23, 1995

Mohamed Rebah, Algèr Républicain ATTACKED

Rebah, a journalist with the non-defunct left-wing French-language daily Alger Républicain, was seriously wounded when he was shot in the chest and arm in Surcouf, east of Algiers.

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Algeria

January 31, 1995

La Nation CENSORED

The Ministry of Communications suspended the independent French-language weekly La Nation for having published a letter signed by Ali Belhadj, an imprisoned leader of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), in the previous week's edition. The authorities faxed the suspension notice to the paper's printers. The suspension was lifted the following week.

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Algeria

February 1, 1995

Nacer Ouari, ENTV KILLED

Ouari, a journalist with state-run Algerian television (ENTV) who produced a weekly news program for the hearing-impaired, was killed near his home in Sidi Moussa, about 35 kilometers southeast of Algiers. One week earlier the radical Armed Islamic Group (GIA) had issued a press release threatening to execute all journalists working for television and radio. CPJ condemned the killing and urged the government to improve protection of journalists.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

February 13, 1995

Hamid Aberkane, El Moudjahid ATTACKED

Aberkane, a journalist with the government-run daily El Moudjahid, survived an assassination attempt. Five armed men sprayed his car with bullets. The attack occurred near his home as he was driving to work. The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) reportedly claimed responsibility for the attempt on Aberkane's life in its weekly underground organ Al-Ansar.

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Algeria

February 17, 1995

Djamel Ziater, El Djoumhouria KILLED

Ziater, a reporter with the government-run Arabic-language daily El Djoumhouria, was shot to death as he was visiting his mother's grave in the Gdiel cemetery, about 20 kilometers outside the city of Oran. In a press release, CPJ condemned the killing.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

February 20, 1995

Al-Wajh al-Akhar CENSORED

The Interior Ministry suspended the satirical Arabic-language weekly Al-Wajh al-Akhar for six months. The reason for the suspension is unknown. CPJ wrote to the Algerian government and urged it to lift the suspension.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

Late February

Abdelkader Hadj Benaamane, Algerian Press Service (APS) IMPRISONED

Benaamane, a correspondent for the Algerian Press Service (APS) in the southern town of Tamanrasset, was arrested by security forces at the end of February. The reasons for Benaamane's imprisonment are unclear, but reports indicate that he was charged with "attacking the security of the state and national unity" for a report he filed, on the internal APS news wire, on the whereabouts of Ali Belhadj, a leader of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) who had recently been transferred from Janan al-Mufti prison to a detention center in the desert. Benaamane appeared before a Tamanrasset military court on July 10. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.

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Algeria

Early March

Omar Belhouchet, El Watan HARASSED
Cherif Rizki, El Khabar HARASSED

Authorities summoned Belhouchet, director of the French-language daily El Watan, and Rizki, director of the Arab-language daily El Khabar, for questioning. The two men are accused of "harming state institutions." Belhouchet's paper published an article about a scandal in the public health services. Rizki's paper criticized the Justice ministry's handling of an attempted breakout by inmates of Serkadji prison. CPJ protested the harassment of Belhouchet and Rizki.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

March 5, 1995

La Tribune CENSORED

La Tribune, a privately owned French-language daily considered close to the National Liberation Front (FLN), was ordered closed by the Interior Ministry for failure to comply with a clause in the 1990 press law that requires each foreign-language paper to publish an edition in Arabic. Editors at the paper point out that the law has been selectively applied and suggest that La Tribune is being punished for its editorial line, which supports dialogue with the Islamists. CPJ wrote to the Algerian government and urged it to withdraw the ban immediately. The ban was lifted within a few days.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

March 21, 1995

Ali Boukerbache, Media-TV KILLED

Boukerbache, owner of the private production company Media-TV and formerly a journalist with the newspaper El Djoumhouria, was shot to death in his car at an intersection between Dergana and Rouiba, about 20 kilometers east of Algiers, as he was driving to Media-TV's offices. His production company had recently produced a documentary about women and terrorism. CPJ condemned the assassination.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

March 27, 1995

Mohamed Abderrahmani, El Moudjahid KILLED

Abderrahmani, director of the government-run French-language daily El Moudjahid, was killed by unidentified assailants who sprayed his car with bullets when he stopped at a traffic light on his way to work. Abderrahmani died of his wounds before arriving at the hospital. CPJ condemned his murder and urged the government to make the protection of journalists a top priority.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

March 20, 1995

Rachida Hammadi, ENTV KILLED
Houriya Hammadi, ENTV

Rachida Hammadi, a well-known investigative reporter for state-run Algerian television (ENTV), and Houriya, her sister, a secretary for the television station, were gunned down in Algiers by unknown assailants while they were waiting outside their parents' home for a hired car to pick them up and take them to work. Houriya died instantly. Rachida sustained two bullet wounds to the neck--one by each ear. She died of her wounds in a Paris hospital on March 31. Rachida, like many other journalists who fear being ambushed on their way to and from work, had been living away from her family. Reportedly, she had not spent the night at her parents' home in a month. In January, the radical Armed Islamic Group (GIA) had threatened to execute all employees of state-controlled television and radio who did not stop working immediately. In a press release, CPJ condemned the attack and called on all parties to the conflict to recognize the status of journalists as noncombatants.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

April 4, 1995

Mekhlouf Boukzer, ENTV KILLED

Boukzer, a sports commentator for state-run Algerian television (ENTV), was found dead in the trunk of his car near his home in the eastern Algerian city of Constantine. His throat had been slit. Television reports indicated that men disguised as policemen went to the journalist's residence the previous night and ordered him to go with them. In a press release, CPJ condemned the killing and urged all sides of the Algerian conflict to respect the status of journalists as noncombatants.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

May 7, 1995

Djamel Fahassi, Alger Chaîne III IMPRISONED

Fahassi, a reporter for French-language Algerian radio and formerly a contributor to Al-Forqane, a weekly organ of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) that was banned in March 1992, was arrested by security services. Officials refused to acknowlege his arrest. His family believes he is in a secret detention center and fears for his life.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

May 15, 1995

Azzedine Saidj, El Ouma KILLED

Saidj, former editor in chief of the independent weekly El Ouma, was found dead in his car on May 15, about 15 kilometers east of Algiers. His throat had been slit. In November 1994, the Interior Ministry had suspended his paper for one month for allegedly publishing "subversive information apologizing for crime." El Ouma had gone out of business due to financial problems in March 1995. CPJ condemned the murder in a press release

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

May 21, 1995

Malika Sabour, Echourouk al-Arabi KILLED

Sabour, a cultural reporter for the independent Arabic-language weekly Echourouk al-Arabi and a contributor to a number of arts reviews, was shot to death at her home in Reghaia, about 25 kilometers east of Algiers. In the early morning hours, three men wearing masks and policemen's uniforms entered the Sabour family home, claiming that they were there to check documents, then gunned her down in front of her parents and other family members. In a press release, CPJ condemned the assassination of Sabour and called on the government to do more to protect journalists.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

May 22, 1995

Bakhti Benaouda, El Djoumhouria KILLED

Benaouda, a professor of Arabic at Oran University and a frequent contributor to many publications, including the government-run daily El Djoumhouria, was shot to death in the evening by unknown assailants in the Delmonte quarter of the western city of Oran. In a press release, CPJ condemned his murder.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

May 27, 1995

Mourad Hmaizi, ENTV KILLED

Unknown gunmen shot and killed Hmaizi, a reporter with state-run Algerian television (ENTV), as he was getting out of his car in front of his home in Baraki, a suburb of Algiers.

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Algeria

May 30, 1995

Horizons CENSORED

The Ministry of Communication suspended the government-run evening paper Horizons for having "strayed from [the state-approved] line of conduct." The May 30 issue of the paper was seized at the printing press. It allegedly contained an article that blamed the government for the shortage of newsprint that forced many Algerian papers to shut down for several days earlier that month. The suspension was lifted after two weeks, but only after the government forced Horizons' director to retire, citing his "lack of respect for the editorial line."

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

June 7, 1995

El Ouma CENSORED
El Houriyah CENSORED
La Nation CENSORED

The Ministry of Communication suspended the French-language daily El Ouma for 15 days and the French-language weekly La Nation and its sister publication, the Arabic-language El Houriyah, for one month each. Each of the papers had published a joint political statement issued by the opposition, including the banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). The suspensions were ordered on the grounds that the papers had published the acronym of an outlawed organization.

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Algeria

June 11, 1995

Saghir Bouhadida, El Khabar IMPRISONED

Bouhadida, an assistant lecturer at the Institute of Social Sciences and at the Institute of Information and Communication in Algiers and a former journalist at the daily El Khabar, was arrested by members of the security forces in the Chevalier district of Algiers. He was detained with two students in the evening on his way home from the Institute of Social Sciences. The two students were released after three days. Bouhadida's whereabouts are unknown.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Algeria

June 14, 1995

El Mawid CENSORED
El Hadath CENSORED

The Ministry of Communication suspended the Arabic-language weeklies El Mawid and El Hadath for six months each, effective June 14. No official reasons were given for the suspensions.

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Algeria

June 18, 1995

Ahmed (a.k.a. Hakim) Takouchet, Radio Cirta KILLED

Takouchet, a journalist with Radio Cirta, the state-run radio station based in the eastern city of Constantine, was kidnapped from his home by four men on the night of June 17 and found with his throat slit the next day.

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Algeria

August 2, 1995

Naïma Hammouda, Révolution Africaine KILLED

Hammouda, a cultural reporter with the weekly Révolution Africaine and formerly with Le Matin and L'Hebdo Libéré, was shot to death. Her body was discovered near an apartment building where she had been staying in the Algiers suburb of Saoula. She was so disfigured that her remains were not correctly identified until Aug. 11. Earlier it was mistakenly reported that her remains were those of L'Hebdo Libéré journalist Aïcha Benamar, who used to live in the same building. CPJ condemned the killing and called on all sides to the conflict to respect the status of journalists as noncombatants.

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Algeria

August 20, 1995

Ameur Ouagueni, Le Matin KILLED

Ouagueni, head of the international news department at the French-language independent daily Le Matin, was shot and critically wounded in front of his home in Algiers. He died of his wounds in a hospital later that night. CPJ condemned the killing and urged the government to make protecting journalists a top priority.

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Algeria

September 3, 1995

Saïd Tazrout, Le Matin KILLED

Tazrout, Tizi-Ouzou bureau chief for the French-language daily Le Matin, was shot to death by two unknown gunmen outside his home in Tizi-Ouzou, capital of the Kabylie region. He was the third journalist from Le Matin to be murdered in nine months. Saïd Mekbel, the editor in chief, was assassinated on Dec. 3, 1994; the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) claimed responsibility for that killing. Ameur Ouagueni, head of the international news department, was murdered on Aug. 20, 1995.

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Algeria

September 4, 1995

Yasmina Brikh, Algerian radio KILLED

Brikh, a journalist for a cultural program on government-run radio, was shot and killed near her home in the Eucalyptus section of Algiers. In a press release, CPJ condemned her assassination.

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Algeria

September 4, 1995

Brahim Guaraoui, El-Moudjahid KILLED

Guaraoui, a journalist and cartoonist for the government-run daily El Moudjahid, was kidnapped and killed. He was found dead near his home in the Eucalyptus section of Algiers. CPJ urged the government to improve its protection of journalists.

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Algeria

September 6, 1995

Omar Gueroui, ENTV KILLED, ATTACKED
ENTV ATTACKED

A car bomb was set off near an Algerian television transmitter in the Eucalyptus section of Algiers. The body of ENTV technician Gueroui was found at the scene the next day. CPJ condemned the bombing of the transmitter and the killing of Gueroui.

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Algeria


Saïd Brahimi, ENTV KILLED
Radja Brahimi, ENTV

Brahimi, a journalist with Algerian television (ENTV), and his wife, Radja, who worked as an administrative assistant at the station, were gunned down in their car in the town of Cherarda, in the Dellys district. In a press release, CPJ condemned the murders and expressed its support for a three-day strike called by the Algerian Journalists Association and the Association of Algerian Newspaper Editors to dramatize the need to take emergency measures to protect journalists.

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Algeria

October 3, 1995

Omar Ouartilan, El Khabar KILLED

Ouartilan, editor in chief of the independent Arabic-language daily El Khabar, was gunned down at a newsstand near his home in the Belcourt district of Algiers on his way to work at the nearby Maison de la Presse Tahar Djaout, which houses the offices of several leading newspapers. Despite the death threat against all journalists, Ouartilan refused protection and would not change the route he took between his home and office. He was the third chief editor of an Algerian daily to be murdered in less than a year. In a press release, CPJ called on all parties to the Algerian conflict to respect the status of journalists as noncombatants.

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Algeria

October 14, 1995

Abdelwahab Sadaoui, El-Chaab KILLED

Sadaoui, commercial director of the newspaper El-Chaab, was kidnapped outside his home, south of Algiers, and murdered. Sadaoui's body was discovered by security forces the next day. In a press release, CPJ condemned the assassination.

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Algeria

October 17, 1995

Saïda Djebaili, Al Hayat al-Arabia KILLED
Mustapha Lazar, Al Hayat al-Arabia

Djebaili, a journalist with the Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat al-Arabia, was killed in Algiers with her driver, Lazar, as she was returning home from work. She was shot several times in the head with automatic weapons. Djebaili was the 50th journalist murdered in Algeria since May 1993. In a press release, CPJ condemned the targeting of reporters and urged the government to make protecting journalists a top priority.

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Algeria

October 31, 1995

Selima Ghézali, La Nation HARASSED

Ghezali, director of the independent French-language weekly La Nation, was ordered to appear in the office of the prosecutor general. No official reason was offered for the summons. CPJ wrote to the prosecutor general to protest the systematic judicial harassment of Ghezali and her paper.

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Algeria

October and November

La Nation CENSORED

The independent French-language weekly La Nation was seized three times at the printer in the month preceding the presidential elections. On none of these occasions did officials explain why they seized the paper.

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Algeria

December 2, 1995

Hamid Mahiout, Liberté KILLED
Ahmed Belkhefellah, Liberté

Unknown assailants kidnapped and killed Mahiout, a reporter for the independent French-language daily Liberté, and Belkhefellah, his driver. Their bodies were found the following morning in the Raïs Hamidou neighborhood of Algiers. Colleagues report that Mahiout and Belkhefellah were decapitated, their heads impaled on spikes and each put on top of the other's body. CPJ condemned the killings, noting that although no group had taken responsibility for these murders, the mutilation of the bodies suggests that it was the work of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA).

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Algeria

December 5, 1995

Khadija Dahmani, Echourouk al-Arabi KILLED

Dahmani, a reporter for the weekly tabloid Echourouk al-Arabi, was shot dead at a bus stop near her home in Baraki, a stronghold of Islamic fundamentalism in the south of Algiers, on her way to work. Her assassins had traced her route and targeted her personally. Dahmani was the sixth female journalist killed in Algeria in 1995. CPJ denounced her assassination and called on the government to improve its protection of journalists.

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Algeria

December 10, 1995

Outoudert Abrous,Liberté IMPRISONED, LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED
Hacene Ouandjli, Liberté IMPRISONED, LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED
Samir Kmayaz,Liberté IMPRISONED, LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED

The Interior Ministry ordered the French-language newspaper Liberté shut down for 15 days. Security forces arrested its editor, Ouandjli, and director general, Abrous, as they were about to board a plane for France. Kmayaz, a reporter with the paper, was also arrested. Though no official explanation for the suspension has been forthcoming, the action appears to have stemmed from the paper's Dec. 7 publication of a report about President Liamine Zeroual's senior aide, retired Gen. Mohamed Betchine. Within a few hours after questioning by a court official, the editor and the reporter were released, but the director general was held in custody for a further hearing and possible trial. CPJ wrote to the Algerian government and urged authorities to release Abrous and to allow Liberté to resume publishing. On Dec. 13, Abrous was given a four-month suspended sentence and released, and Kmayaz, who wrote the article, was given a two-month suspended sentence.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


algeria

December 20, 1995

Mustapha Belkacem, ENTV KILLED

Belkacem, a producer with state-run Algerian television (ENTV), was kidnapped in Baraki, an Islamist stronghold south of Algiers. He was found with his throat slit the following day.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

Year in Review: 1995

Palestinian journalists, who grew accustomed to censorship and arbitrary arrest under the Israelis, are experiencing a disturbing sense of déjà vu under the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). In Gaza, reporters and editors have been detained, invited for questioning and arrested in numbers that rival those of the bad old days of Israeli occupation. Imprisoned journalists were not mistreated, there is no official prior censorship, and reporters are much less likely to be shot while covering disturbances. But PNA Chairman Yasser Arafat has made it clear that he believes the press should uncritically support the government. This expectation brought the PNA into direct confrontation with independent-minded reporters and opposition newspapers.

The PNA's position regarding press freedom is clearly demonstrated by its antagonistic treatment of the Islamist opposition newspapers, Al-Watan, a pro-Hamas weekly, and Al-Istiqlal, a weekly that supports Islamic Jihad; both were repeatedly shut down for months at a time. The most glaring demonstration was the treatment of Sayed Abu Musameh, editor in chief of Al-Watan, who was arrested and tried at midnight in a State Security court. No testimony was heard at the trial, which was closed to the press and public, and Abu Musameh was not represented by an attorney. Charged and convicted of incitement against the PNA because of an article he had published in the newspaper, he was sentenced to two years in prison.

The PNA crackdown on the press is symptomatic of its weakness. Because it is not a fully sovereign government, the PNA cannot ignore Israeli demands. So when suicide bombers from the military branch of Hamas or Islamic Jihad kill Israelis, PNA security services round up the usual suspects--members of the political arms of these organizations. And if the opposition papers criticize these moves, editors are arrested and the newspapers are closed.

Even when there is no immediate political imperative (i.e., Israeli pressure) for repressing the media, police and security officials react swiftly to press criticism of Arafat. An article published anonymously in Al-Watan, called "Democracy Under the President," explained the dilemma facing Palestinian journalists: "We know that Arafat is the one who makes all the decisions. It is he who appoints and fires the officials. He is the one who builds and destroys. If we cannot write about this, where is our freedom of expression? Where is our democracy?" Summoned to police headquarters in Gaza after this article appeared, Al-Watan's publisher, Imad al-Falouji, was asked to reveal the identity of the author.

Islamist reporters were not the only ones targeted by PNA security services. Reporters writing for the mainstream Palestinian dailies, the East Jerusalem-based Al-Nahar and Al-Quds, were detained, questioned and held in custody, sometimes for several weeks. Stringers for international news organizations were harassed, called in for questioning and occasionally physically assaulted. In one case, members of Arafat's personal guard raided the home of Taher Shriteh, a stringer for CBS and Reuters, in the middle of the night. When they failed to find him at home, they beat his brothers.

The promulgation in July of a press law that was supposed to guarantee press freedom and journalists' rights only gave authorities an optional legal cover for repression of the media. The law sanctions prison sentences for journalists whose writing incites violence or racial hatred, or threatens national unity. So far, police and other security services have not charged anyone with violating the new law, opting instead for unofficial acts of intimidation--such as holding journalists in custody for extended periods without charge and then denying that they were ever under arrest.

Economic and political pressure caused the closure of Gaza's short-lived independent weekly Filistin in the spring. The PNA's de facto monopoly on printing in Gaza, where no independent or cooperative publishing venture can afford its own printing press, makes independent publishing very expensive. As the legislative and presidential election campaigns got under way, another opposition outlet folded. Al-Watan, which had served as an organ of Hamas, was shut down by its publisher in December after he decided to run as an independent candidate in the legislative elections. And the PNA has maintained its monopoly on the broadcast media. Opposition candidates have been guaranteed some airtime, but PNA control of radio and television news operations is bound to help pro-Arafat candidates.

The year ended with an incident that portends even harder times for the Palestinian press. On Christmas Day, Maher al-Alami, an editor at the pro-PNA daily Al-Quds, was detained in Jericho by Jibril al-Rajoub's Preventive Security Service (PSS). Though no official explanation was offered, it appears that al-Alami was arrested because he failed to comply with a request from Arafat's office that a story about the chairman receiving symbolic custody of Christian holy sites in Jerusalem be published on the front page. The front page already included several articles about Arafat's Christmas Eve visit to Bethlehem.



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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

February 8, 1995

Al-Abrar press office IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Alaa al-Saftawi, Al-Istiqlal IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Atiyeh Abu Mansour, Al-Istiqlal IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Khaled Sadeq, Al-Istiqlal IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Nahed Kutkut, Al-Istiqlal IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Muhammad Sayyad, Al-Istiqlal IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Zakariya Madhun, Al-Istiqlal IMPRISONED, CENSORED

Palestinian police raided the premises of the Islamic-Jihad-affiliated Al-Abrar press office in Gaza City, shut it down and detained al-Saftawi, publisher of Al-Abrar's weekly newspaper, Al-Istiqlal, and five journalists with the paper: Abu Mansour, Sadeq, Kutkut, Sayyad and Madhun. The detentions coincided with a roundup of supporters of organizations opposed to the peace accords with Israel, including Jihad, Hamas and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). CPJ appealed for the release of the journalists in three letters to PNA Chairman Arafat, one sent in February and two in April. Al-Saftawi was released on March 2. Abu Mansour, Sadeq, Kutkut and Sayyad were released on May 8 as part of an Eid al-Adha amnesty. Madhun had been released approximately one month earlier.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

February 25, 1995

Al-Rased CENSORED

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) banned the publication of Al-Rased, a newsletter published by employees of the Voice of Palestine (VOP), the PNA's broadcasting system. The ban stemmed from an article criticizing Jordan's King Hussein, especially with regard to the king's policy on East Jerusalem. General Prosecutor Khaled al-Qidra announced that the newspaper was banned for attacking King Hussein and his family. CPJ appealed to PNA Chairman Arafat to reopen the paper.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

April 5, 1995

Taher al-Nunu, Al-Nahar IMPRISONED

Al-Nunu, a reporter for Jerusalem's Al-Nahar daily newspaper, was arrested by Palestinian police after writing an article in which he cited civil defense experts as saying that an April 2 explosion in the residential Sheikh Radwan neighborhood may have been caused by a time bomb. This contradicted the Palestinian National Authority's (PNA) contention that the explosion, which killed several people, including a leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (the armed wing of Hamas), was caused by an accident in an apartment Hamas was using as a bomb factory. Local journalists told CPJ that al-Nunu accurately reported the words of civil defense experts whom he had interviewed and tape-recorded. CPJ wrote two letters to PNA Chairman Arafat urging him to release al-Nunu. He was released on April 26. Al-Nunu told the international daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat that he had signed a pledge to respect the law and Palestinian national security before he was released. He also stated that during his detention he had been interrogated about his view of the peace process and not about what he had published. He added that he had not been charged with anything or mistreated.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

April 9, 1995

Alaa al-Masharawy, A l-Quds IMPRISONED
Muhammad Jahjouh, Free-lancer IMPRISONED

Palestinian police arrested al-Masharawy, a reporter for the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds daily newspaper, at the Erez checkpoint near the Israeli border. That night police arrested Jahjouh, a free-lance cameraman, at his home in the Shatti refugee camp. The reasons for the arrests are unclear, but they occured as Islamic Jihad and Hamas activists were being rounded up in the wake of two suicide bombing attacks. CPJ urged Palestinian National Authority Chairman Arafat to release the two reporters. Al-Masharawy was released and briefly redetained on April 11. Jahjouh was released after a few days.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

April 10, 1995

Amer Shriteh, CBS HARASSED

Military Intelligence agents detained Shriteh, a cameraman working as a stringer for CBS, as he was filming a protest by Islamic Jihad activists. Shriteh was held for several hours and released that evening.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

April 11, 1995

Imad Abdurrahman al-Efranji, Al-Quds HARASSED
Alaa al-Masharawy, Al-Quds HARASSED

Palestinian police arrested al-Efranji and al-Masharawy, two reporters with Jerusalem's Al-Quds daily newspaper. They were held overnight and released. Al-Masharawy had just been released from a detention that began on April 9. In a letter to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), CPJ denounced the systematic harassment of Palestinian journalists by PNA security services.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

April 11, 1995

Jamal al-Halabi, Reuters ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Shamseddin Oudeh, Reuters ATTACKED, , HARASSED

Palestinian police briefly detained al-Halabi, a stringer for Reuters, while he was covering a police raid on the house of an Islamist. Oudeh, a cameraman who was filming the scene for Reuters Television, was beaten by police. In a letter to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), CPJ denounced the systematic harassment of Palestinian journalists by PNA security services.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

April 12, 1995

Journalists in Gaza THREATENED

For several days beginning on the evening of April 12, in the wake of two April 9 suicide bomb attacks on Israelis in the Gaza Strip, Lt. Col. Muhammad al-Masri, an officer with General Intelligence, systematically summoned Palestinian journalists in Gaza to his office to answer questions about their work. Reporters told CPJ that they were warned that they must submit their stories to General Intelligence for prior censorship or face arrest. CPJ wrote to Palestinian National Authority Chairman Arafat, strongly condemning this attempt to informally impose prior censorship and urging him to stop the security services' campaign of intimidation against the press.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

April 13, 1995

Al-Watan ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Ghazi Hamad, Al-Watan ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Sayed Abu Musameh, Al-Watan ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Nafez al-Ji'b, Al-Watan ATTACKED, , HARASSED

Officers with General Intelligence raided the offices of Al-Watan, a pro-Hamas weekly newspaper, and detained three journalists with the paper. Hamad, the paper's deputy editor, was severely beaten in the course of the arrest. Hamad, editor in chief Abu Musameh and reporter al-Ji'b were held for several hours, questioned and then released. The raid followed the publication in Al-Watan of a commentary stating that "there is no difference" between the Palestinian National Authority's (PNA) crackdown on Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the repression under Israeli occupation. In a letter to PNA Chairman Arafat, CPJ protested the beating and detention of the Al-Watan journalists.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

April 13, 1995

Taher Shriteh, Filastin, CBS, Reuters ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Amer Shriteh, CBS ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Fakher Shriteh ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Zaher Shriteh ATTACKED, , HARASSED

Early in the morning, 20 members of Force 17, Palestinian National Authority Chairman Arafat's personal guard unit, raided the home of Taher Shriteh, publisher of the independent weekly Filastin and a stringer for Reuters and CBS News. They did not find Shriteh and proceeded to beat his brothers Fakher, Amer and Zaher. Fakher was beaten unconscious with rifle butts and had to be hospitalized. He remained unconscious for several hours. CPJ condemned the raid on the Shriteh home and the conduct of the Force 17 officers.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

May 13, 1995

Sayed Abu Musameh, Al-Watan IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Al-Watan IMPRISONED, CENSORED

Abu Musameh, editor in chief of the pro-Hamas weekly newspaper Al-Watan, was arrested by General Intelligence officers outside the paper's offices. The next day he was tried by a secret State Security tribunal. The court convicted him of "incitement against the Palestinian Authority"--a charge based on articles published in Al-Watan--and sentenced him to two years in prison. Abu Musameh was not represented by a defense attorney at the trial, which was closed to the press and public. No testimony was heard at the proceedings. The tribunal also suspended Al-Watan for three months. CPJ urged Palestinian National Authority Chairman Arafat to overturn the conviction of Abu Musameh and to lift the ban on Al-Watan. Arafat lifted the suspension of Al-Watan on June 19. On Dec. 12, Abu Musameh was released.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

July 10, 1995

Alaa al-Masharawy, Al-Quds IMPRISONED

Palestinian police arrested al-Masharawy, a journalist with the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds. No reason was given for his arrest. He was interrogated about articles he had written for Al-Quds and released after 10 days.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

July 12, 1995

Imad Abdurrahman al-Efranji, Quds Press, Al-Quds, Kul al-Arab IMPRISONED

Al-Efranji, a correspondent for the London-based Quds Press news agency and a stringer for the East Jerusalem-based Al Quds daily and the Nazareth-based Kul al-Arab weekly, was detained by Palestinian police. There were no specific charges. The authorities were disturbed by a Quds Press report, printed in the Jordanian daily Al-Ray, on the transfer of Police Chief Ghazi al-Jabali from Gaza to Ramallah and his attack on his private secretary. Al-Efranji's interrogators believed he supplied Quds Press with the story. Both he and Quds Press maintain that the source was a report on Israeli radio.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

July 19, 1995

All journalists LEGAL, ACTION

The Palestinian National Authority promulgated a new press law. At a press conference on the new law, Information and Culture Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo announced, "Now that we have this new law, no security apparatus will have the right to detain or interrogate journalists." The law was immediately criticized by Palestinian journalists. Among its most-criticized features are prison sentences for journalists convicted of publishing articles that incite violence or religious hatred or threaten national unity.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

July 21, 1995

Imad al-Falouji, Al-Watan HARASSED

Al-Falouji, publisher of the pro-Hamas weekly Al-Watan, was summoned to police headquarters in Gaza for questioning. He was interrogated for several hours about the identity of the author of an article, published in Al-Watan, criticizing restrictions on freedom of speech.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

August 5, 1995

Imad al-Falouji, Al-Watan HARASSED, CENSORED
Alaa al-Saftawi, Al-Istiqlal HARASSED, CENSORED
Al-Watan HARASSED, CENSORED
Al-Istiqlal HARASSED, CENSORED

Al-Falouji, publisher of the pro-Hamas weekly Al-Watan, and al-Saftawi, publisher of the pro-Islamic Jihad weekly Al-Istiqlal, were detained by police. Both men were released after a few hours. The following day both newspapers were closed by the Palestinian National Authority; they were permitted to reopen after one month.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

August 20, 1995

Al-Quds HARASSED, CENSORED

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) banned distribution of the East Jerusalem-based daily newspaper Al-Quds. No official explanation was given. The ban, which lasted one day, was imposed after the newspaper published an article about Farouq Kaddoumi, a prominent Fatah leader who is a critic of PNA Chairman Arafat.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority


Mustapha al-Sawal, Al-Nahar, IMPRISONED
Faid Abu-Shamlan, Al-Nahar IMPRISONED
Taher al-Nunu, Al-Nahar IMPRISONED
Ahmed al-Nakhala, Al-Nahar IMPRISONED

Al-Sawal, Abu-Shamlan, al-Nunu and al-Nakhala, journalists with the East Jerusalem daily Al-Nahar, were arrested by Palestinian police and held in Al-Saraya (formerly Gaza Central) prison. They were subsequently released.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

November 3, 1995

Ezzedine al-Sharif, Al-Istiqlal IMPRISONED

Al-Sharif, an editor with the pro-Islamic Jihad Al-Istiqlal weekly, was arrested by Palestinian police. No reason was given for his arrest. Al-Sharif was held in Saraya Prison in Gaza City until his release in early December.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

Early November

Al-Bilad CENSORED

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) banned distribution of Al-Bilad, a Jordanian weekly newspaper, after it published an article that suggested PNA Chairman Arafat was involved in the assassination of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki. Palestinian authorities claim the ban was imposed because Al-Bilad had not applied for permission to be distributed in the areas under the authority of the PNA.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

November 27, 1995

Ghazi Hamad, Al -Watan IMPRISONED
Alaa al-Saftawi, Al -Istiqlal IMPRISONED

Hamad, editor of the Hamas newspaper Al-Watan, and al-Saftawi, publisher of the Islamic Jihad-affiliated Al-Istiqlal newspaper, were arrested by Palestinian police in Gaza. No reason was given for the arrests. Al-Istiqlal had just published an article criticizing the arrest of one of its editors, Ezzedine al-Sharif. Al-Saftawi was released after 12 hours. Hamad was held for four days and then released.

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Areas Under the Palestinian National Authority

December 25, 1995

Maher al-Alami, Al-Quds IMPRISONED

Al-Alami, an editor at the East Jerusalem-based Palestinian daily Al-Quds, was summoned to Jericho and arrested by Palestinian security officials. No official explanation for the arrest was given by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Colleagues at Al-Quds believe al-Alami's arrest stems from his having failed to place a story about PNA Chairman Arafat's meeting with the Greek Orthodox patriarch on the front page. The front page already included several Arafat stories. Al-Alami was released on Dec. 30.

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Bahrain

November 1, 1995

Aziza al-Bassam, Bahrain Radio HARASSED

Al-Bassam, a journalist with state-owned Bahrain Radio, was dismissed from her job at the station after martial law was declared. She was one of several intellectuals who were harassed by security forces because they were considered sympathetic to the opposition.

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Egypt

Year in Review: 1995

The Egyptian press faced--and attempted to face down--new difficulties in 1995. In May, the Egyptian Parliament hastily passed a bill amending articles of the Penal Code that pertain to crimes of publication; in June President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak signed them into law. Law 93 of 1995 was dubbed the "Press Assassination Law" by opposition papers. The draconian law assigns stiff prison sentences and heavy fines to offenses such as libel and abolishes a previous law proscribing the preventive arrest or administrative detention of journalists under investigation for their work. Opposition to Law 93 quickly became a rallying point for supporters of press freedoms, including many journalists writing for official papers.

Faced with vehement opposition from Egypt's Press Syndicate and local and international human rights groups, the government offered a compromise, agreeing to form a committee to draft a new press law. It is now evident that this was merely a stalling tactic. While the government-appointed committee of 34 (only four of whom are opposition journalists) slowly worked on an official draft for a new law, Law 93--despite official promises not to enforce it--remained in force, casting its long shadow over the parliamentary election campaign. As the campaign got under way, editors and reporters from all the major opposition papers faced judicial harassment. Among the targeted papers were Al-Shaab, the biweekly organ of the pro-Islamist Labor Party; Al-Wafd, the daily organ of the eponymous rightist party; and Al-Ahali, the weekly mouthpiece of the leftist Tagammuu Party. Magdi Hussein, editor in chief of Al-Shaab, was tried under Law 93 and sentenced to one year in prison in January 1996 for alleged libel of the son of the interior minister.

With the threat of prolonged imprisonment hanging over the heads of all journalists, legislative elections were held in late November and early December. Given the government's intimidation of the opposition press during the campaign and the arrest of dozens of leaders of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, the elections were destined to be unfair. It is in this context, as well as in the context of reports of irregularities and outright fraud at polling stations, that the election, which the ruling National Democratic Partys (NDP) won by a landslide (95 percent of the seats), can be explained.

By year's end, the government had missed its own deadline for presenting a new press bill. To put pressure on the government, the press formed an alternate committee, composed of prominent journalists and attorneys, to draft an alternative press law. It is clear that Egyptian journalists are not going to surrender their rights without a fight.

There is a lingering threat from the religious right--both its extremist and mainstream elements--against freedom of expression. In August Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, a fundamentalist rebel group, purportedly faxed a statement to international news agencies threatening the editor of the weekly Al-Watan al-Arabi with death for the views of his paper. Memories of the same group's 1992 assassination of the journalist and academic Farag Foda still linger in the minds of Egyptian journalists.



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Egypt

February 15, 1995

Jerusalem Post CENSORED

Egyptian authorities informed the Cairo distributor of the right-wing English-language Israeli daily Jerusalem Post that the paper was banned for distribution in Egypt starting Feb. 20. Apparently, the article that motivated the ban was an opinion piece by Yehuda Blum, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, in which he described three Egyptian officials--namely, former foreign minister and current secretary general of the Arab League, Ismat Abdel Meguid; the current foreign minister, Amr Mousa; and President Hosni Mubarak's closest adviser, Usama al-Baz--as "skeptics [regarding], if not outright opponents" of the peace treaty with Israel. The ban was lifted in mid-March.

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Egypt

May 27, 1995

All media LEGAL, ACTION

A series of amendments to the penal code pertaining to crimes of publication, known as Law 93 of 1995, was passed by the People's Assembly and subsequently signed by President Hosni Mubarak. Its provisions sharply increase the penalties for crimes of publication and expand the scope of punishable offenses. Furthermore, Law 93 repeals a previous law (Article 135 of the penal code and Article 67 of the press law) that prohibited the detention or "preventive arrest" of journalists under investigation for crimes of publication.

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Egypt

June 8, 1995

Ahmad Al-Jarallah, Al-Siyasah LEGAL, ACTION

Ahmad Al-Jarallah, editor in chief of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyasah, was convicted in absentia of defamation and sentenced to two years in prison. He was also fined E100. The case against him was filed by television personality Nagwa Ibrahim. In February, Al-Siyasah published a report alleging that Ibrahim had been involved with drug smuggling. Al-Jarallah's conviction was overturned on appeal in January 1996.

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Egypt

June 22, 1995

Mohammed Abdel-Qudous, Al-Akhbar, Al-Shaab, Journalists' Syndicate HARASSED

Abdel-Qudous, a journalist with the government-controlled daily Al-Akhbar, a weekly columnist with the pro-Islamist daily Al-Shaab and a board member of the Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate, was followed home from the Press Syndicate by a man on a motorcycle. The journalist later heard something crash into his parked car. The next morning Abdel-Qudous found that the windows of his car had been shattered and that his personal effects had been taken from the car. Abdel-Qudous, who is a leader of the opposition to the new press law, reported the license plate number of a car that had been following him to the police. Nothing came of the police investigation into the incident.

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Egypt

August 1, 1995

Gamal al-Badawi, Al-Wafd ATTACKED

Al-Badawi, editor in chief of the opposition daily Al-Wafd, was attacked on his way home from a conference at the Journalists' Syndicate in downtown Cairo. He left the conference at 11 p.m. and was headed for his home in Heliopolis when two vehicles forced his car off the road. Ten unidentified people then emerged from the vehicles, pulled Badawi out of his car and proceeded to beat and curse him. The editor and his driver suffered minor injuries. CPJ wrote to the prosecutor general and urged him to conduct a thorough investigation into the attack.

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Egypt

November 21, 1995

Gamal al-Badawi, Editor of Al-Wafd LEGAL, ACTION
Mohamed Abdel-Alim, Al-Wafd LEGAL, ACTION

The prosecutor general announced that al-Badawi, editor in chief of the rightist opposition daily Al-Wafd, and Abdel-Alim, a reporter for the paper, are being charged under Law 93 with libeling a member of parliament. The charges stem from an article in Al-Wafd that accused Hassanein Sallam, M.P., of misusing state funds. In December, al-Badawi and Abdel-Alim were both convicted, sentenced to two years in prison and fined US$14,000 apiece. They are free pending appeal.

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Egypt

December 19, 1995

Abdel al-Bakuri, Al-Ahali LEGAL, ACTION
Sarwat Sourour, Al-Ahali LEGAL, ACTION

Al-Bakuri, editor in chief of Al-Ahali, weekly organ of the leftist Tagammu'u Party, and Sourour, a reporter for the paper, were convicted by a court in Damanhour of defaming a police officer. Each was sentenced to two years in prison and fined US$14,000. The charges were based on the controversial new press law (Law 93.)

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Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia)

Year in Review: 1995

The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Their geopolitical environment is not terribly conducive to freedom of the press, and there is very little room for critical or independent reporting in these countries. Some efforts at reform have been initiated over the past few years, such as the post-Gulf War revival of Kuwait's parliament and the appointment of advisory bodies called consultative councils in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. But with the exception of Kuwaits parliament, these bodies are appointed and have only the power to endorse the rulers' policies.

Saudi Arabia exercises tremendous leverage over the regional and international press. Thus there is a drought in terms of information for news seekers both within the region and abroad. While there has been a proliferation of media outlets in many parts of the Arab world, Saudi Arabia exerts an enormous influence over these outlets, since many of them are owned by members and associates of the Saudi royal family. For example, the Arab Media Corporation (AMC), a subsidiary of Arab Radio and Television (ART), is partly controlled by Prince al-Walid bin Talal, a nephew of King Fahd. The daily Al-Hayat and the magazine Al-Wasat, both based in London, belong to Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, also a nephew of the king. Similarly, the London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat and its sister publication, Al-Majalla, belong to Prince Ahmad Bin Salman. The wire service United Press International (UPI), which is a subsidiary of the Middle East Broadcasting Corporation, belongs to the prominent Saudi businessman Sheikh Walid al-Ibrahim.

Though the press in Saudi Arabia is privately owned, it is one of the most restricted in the Middle East. King Fahd must approve the hiring of editors and may dismiss them at will. The press is barred from discussing domestic financial scandals and economic problems. The Saudis routinely reject visa applications from foreign journalists. The kingdom also exerts its influence by financially pressuring other governments in the region to stifle criticism in their own press of the Saudi monarchy. This combination of ownership of the most important pan-Arab media outlets and financial and diplomatic pressure allows the Saudi royal family to silence dissenting voices at home and abroad.

Kuwait differs from its larger neighbor in that it has both an opposition and an opposition press. This is not to say that the press is unrestricted, however, since only opposition that is ultimately loyal to the ruling Al-Sabah family is tolerated. In mid-March, the Kuwaiti Council of Ministers slapped a five-day suspension on the daily Al-Anba' for having published articles that "harm the country's interests and reputation" and "cause civil strife or hate in Kuwaiti society." To justify the suspension, the council cited Article 35(b) of the Press and Publications Law, which allows the authorities to stop the publication of periodicals communicating with foreign agents. Al-Anba' had been publishing interviews with Kuwaiti opposition figures. Eighteen journalists remain incarcerated in Kuwait--the largest number of imprisoned journalists of any country in the Arab world--for allegedly collaborating with the Iraqi occupation by working for a newspaper published during the occupation.

In Qatar, where the son of the long-ruling emir replaced his father in a bloodless coup, the government lifted prior censorship on the country's daily newspapers at the beginning of September. For a decade these papers had to be submitted to the Ministry of Information for prior approval. The significance of this reform, however, was called into question on Dec. 6, when the Arabic daily El-Watan was suspended for one month. The authorities claimed that the newspaper had violated the publications law.

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Iran

Year in Review: 1995

Many in the Middle East look upon the Islamic Republic as a model of a successful Islamic democracy. It is true that in some ways (e.g., universal adult suffrage) Iran is more democratic than many of its neighbors, such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia or Syria. And the degree of press freedom in Iran may even compare favorably with many countries in the region. Iran has a lively and factionalized press. But political discourse must be tempered with appropriate respect for the mullahs' brand of political Islam. Even journalists staying within these limits may be sentenced to whippings or prison terms or have their work banned for purely political reasons. Ever-worsening economic conditions and widespread public discontent with a body of officials riddled with corruption make the government of President Mohamed Hashemi Rafsanjani very sensitive to criticism in the press.

As has been the case in recent years, a power struggle between President Rafsanjani and his radical opponents has resulted in violations of press freedom. Jahan-e Eslam, a radical Islamic opposition daily, was banned in February for being too critical of Rafsanjani's regime. The paper is owned by the brother of Ayatollah Ali Khameini, Iran's top cleric and a supporter of the government. Jahan-e Eslam is reported to have printed that it is better for Iran to be ruled by nonbelievers than by tyrants. And the radical student paper Payam-e Daneshjoo was closed at the end of July after publishing allegations that an important political ally of the president is corrupt.

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Iran

February 9, 1995

Jahan-e Eslam CENSORED

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance banned the Tehran-based radical daily Jahan-e Eslam. No official reason was given for the ban. Jahan-e Eslam, which is aligned with hard-line religious critics of the government, was in the midst of publishing a series of interviews with Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, a former interior minister and an outspoken critic of the government, in which he expressed controversial views. According to other reports, the ban may have stemmed from the juxtaposition of a letter to the editor referring to Dear Uncle Napoleon, a comical character in a prerevolutionary novel, with a transcript of a speech by Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Dear Uncle Napoleon was famous for blaming all of Iran's problems on England; Khamenei's speech accused Western countries of a media conspiracy against Iran. CPJ urged the government of the Islamic Republic to lift the ban on the paper.

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Iran

March 1, 1995

Takapou CENSORED

Takapou, a literary magazine, was banned by the Press Review Board of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for having published vulgar material.

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Iran

June 10, 1995

Payam-e Daneshjoo ATTACKED

A group of armed pro-government protestors ransacked the offices of the weekly Payam-e Daneshjoo, a radical student paper, destroying equipment and threatening the staff. Apparently the rampage was in retaliation for the paper's criticism of government officials, including President Rafsanjani.

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Iran

July 31, 1995

Payam-e Daneshjoo CENSORED

Payam-e Daneshjoo, a radical student weekly, was banned by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for "defamation of character." Payam-e Daneshjoo had published a series of articles suggesting that Mohsen Rafiqdoust, the head of the Bonyad-e Mostazafan va Janbazan (Foundation for the Deprived and War Disabled) and an important ally of President Rafsanjani, may have been involved in a major financial scandal.

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Iran

October 18, 1995

Mohamed Sadeq Javadi Hessar, Tous IMPRISONED

A court in the city of Mashad convicted Javadi Hessar, editor of Tous newspaper, of slander and divulging secrets. He was sentenced to six months in prison and 20 lashes. His trial was conducted without a jury, and judgment in the case was handed down in the absence of the defendant, according to a local press account. The same court had suspended Tous, a daily known for its criticism of the government, on Oct. 18. CPJ wrote to Iran's minister of culture and Islamic guidance and urged him to bring the case to the attention of the appropriate judicial authorities.

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Iraq

Year in Review: 1995

The situation facing the Iraqi press shows no evidence that President Saddam Hussein's stranglehold on society is loosening, despite speculation in the international and Arab press after the surprise defection of two of his sons-in-law to the opposition in August 1995. Arab press accounts attribute the defections to the growing power of Uday, Saddam's ruthless, unbalanced son. Uday also happens to be the head of the Iraqi Journalists' Union, which means that his whims determine the destiny of every journalist in Iraq. He is also the publisher and editor of Babil, Iraq's only privately owned newspaper.

The continuing sanctions against Iraq, which have weakened the country's economy as a whole, have created a newsprint shortage. Over the past few years, Iraqi publications have reduced their size and circulation, further curtailing the already scant news and political coverage permitted by the government.

But there was at least one positive press development in 1995. Subhy Haddad, a journalist arrested early in 1994 and feared dead, was released. Haddad, a reporter for the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, was summoned to the offices of Iraqi intelligence in January 1994. Agents searched his home and confiscated documents. For more than a year, there was no news of Haddad. He is now living in Jordan.

Continued fighting between the armed wings of the two main parties in United Nations-protected Iraqi Kurdistan threatens the independence of the press and the broadcast media there. The Turkish incursion into Iraqi Kurdistan in the spring further eroded press freedom, as Turkish forces limited foreign correspondents' access to the area.

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Israel and the Occupied Territories

Year in Review: 1995

In the areas of the West Bank under control of the Israeli army, journalists still suffer some of the same problems that have plagued them throughout the occupation. Incidents of soldiers shooting at journalists covering confrontations are now rare. But members of the press continue to be subject to arbitrary detentions, harassment and beatings. Violent attacks by settlers on Palestinian, Israeli and foreign journalists are increasingly common. Israel's closure of Gaza in the aftermath or in anticipation of terrorist incidents remains a major problem for Palestinian journalists. Even when there is no closure, Gazan journalists' access to the outside world is severely curtailed by the Israelis.

Journalists report that Israeli censorship has eased. And the army has suspended fewer publications. But Palestinian editors and reporters in East Jerusalem must contend with a new censor, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Though the PNA has no official jurisdiction in Jerusalem, the city's Palestinian papers have learned that it is dangerous to run afoul of PNA Chairman Yasser Arafat. By banning distribution of the daily Al-Nahar in Gaza and the West Bank last year, he effectively closed that paper for six weeks.

For those who do not get the message, more forceful means of persuasion have been used. Over a two-week period, Al-Umma, an East Jerusalem-based opposition weekly, suffered two attacks. First its printer's office was destroyed. Then the paper's office was set on fire, and expensive equipment was destroyed. The paper's publisher blames the incident on agents of the PNA's Jericho-based Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS), which is headed by Jibril al-Rajoub.

In Israel proper, the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin brought a clumsy attempt by Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair to silence the voice of extremists in the press. He warned editors in a letter that they could be prosecuted for publishing statements seen as inciting violence. The attorney general's attempt to limit publication of interviews with members of extremist groups blamed for inciting the murder of the prime minister was roundly condemned by the media.

Earlier in the year, the arrest of editors at the country's two largest dailies, Yediot Ahronot and Maariv, exposed an ongoing wiretap scandal. And financial problems led to the closing of Al Hamishmar, one of the country's oldest and most respected papers.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

January 16, 1995

Quds Press CENSORED

The office of the Quds Press news agency in Jerusalem was raided by an Israeli police unit in the morning. According to the agency's public relations officer, the unit consisted of 18 policemen and an officer. The policemen confiscated documents and computer disks. The officer in charge offered Quds Press no explanation for the raid. A police spokesman, however, claimed that the radical Islamic movement Hamas had been using the office to disseminate information about attacks carried out by its members.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

February 11, 1995

Abdel Rahman Khabeisa, Worldwide Television News (WTN) IMPRISONED

Khabeisa, a cameraman for London-based WTN, was detained by Israeli soldiers while shooting video footage of stone-throwing youths in the West Bank city of Nablus. He was held for three days on charges of throwing stones at soldiers or inciting others to do so.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

March 19, 1995

Nadji Dana, TF1 HARASSED

Dana, a cameraman for the French television channel TF1, was arrested by Israeli soldiers while shooting video footage in Hebron. The arrest occurred after Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an Israeli bus, killing two settlers. The reason for Dana's arrest is unclear. He was held overnight.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

March 20, 1995

Nahum Barnea, Yediot Ahronot ATTACKED

Barnea, a correspondent for Israel's most widely read daily, Yediot Ahronot, was attacked by supporters of the extreme right-wing Kach movement near the Qiryat Arba settlement in Hebron while he was covering the funeral of two settlers who were killed in a March 19 attack on a settlers' bus. Israeli police officers present failed to intervene on Barnea's behalf. Several residents of Qiryat Arba came to Barnea's aid and escorted him away from the scene.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

April 20, 1995

Al-Umma ATTACKED

Unidentified individuals raided the offices of the printer of Al-Umma, a weekly Arabic-language newspaper opposed to the peace agreement with Israel and strongly critical of Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Arafat, and confiscated its typesetting machinery. Local journalists told CPJ that the attack was the work of Jibril al-Rajoub's Jericho-based Preventive Security Service (PSS), a part of the PNA. Although the service's jurisdiction is technically limited to areas under PNA control, PSS agents are known to operate in other parts of the Occupied Territories.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

April 26, 1995

Amos Keinan, Yediot Ahronot LEGAL, ACTION

Keinan, a columnist for Israel's top-circulation daily, Yediot Ahronot, was convicted of contempt of court and fined US$670. The charges against Keinan were based on columns he wrote in 1988 and 1989, in which he criticized Israeli courts for handing down lenient sentences in cases of Israelis attacking Palestinians.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

May 3, 1995

Al-Umma ATTACKED

A fire was set in the offices of Al-Umma, an East Jerusalem-based opposition weekly. A computer and a fax machine were damaged in the blaze, but there were no injuries. Al-Umma's owner, Adnan al-Khatib, has accused Jibril al-Rajoub's Preventive Security Service (PSS) of setting the fire. Thirteen days earlier, unidentified individuals thought to be PSS agents raided Al-Umma's printer's offices and seized equipment.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

May 8, 1995

Nablus Office for the Press CENSORED

Israeli army soldiers, in the presence of a civil administration official, raided the Nablus Office for the Press, a media service center used by reporters for several Palestinian publications, including the Jerusalem-based daily newspaper Al-Quds. Soldiers confiscated news reports and publications. They presented those working there with an order from the Israeli military commander of the central region closing down the office for six months. The soldiers proceeded to seal the office. The official reason given for the action is the presence of "inciting material" in the office. But local sources told CPJ that the materials confiscated by the soldiers were news articles describing prison conditions endured by Palestinian detainees. CPJ urged the Israeli government to allow the press office to reopen. Uri Dromi, head of the Government Press Office, telephoned CPJ to report that he was looking into the matter. No further communication on the matter was sent to CPJ.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

June 24, 1995

Mohammad Abed Rabbo, Voice of Palestine ATTACKED
Khaled Zighari, Reuters ATTACKED

Abed Rabbo, a reporter for Voice of Palestine radio, was wounded by a rubber bullet when Israeli soldiers opened fire on a group of demonstrators in front of Orient House in East Jerusalem. Zighari, a photographer and reporter for Reuters, was badly beaten by soldiers wielding clubs while he was covering the same demonstration. The protesters were voicing their support for Palestinian prisoners who had gone on a hunger strike.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

June 25, 1995

Awad Awad, Agence France-Presse (AFP) ATTACKED

Awad, a photographer for AFP, was injured by a percussion grenade thrown by an Israeli soldier. Awad was covering a confrontation between soldiers and protesters in the West Bank town of Nablus.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

July 10, 1995

Samir Hamatou, Maariv, Al-Hayah al-Jadidah IMPRISONED

Members of Israel's General Security Service (GSS) detained Hamatou, a free-lance journalist working for the Israeli daily Maariv and the Palestinian weekly Al-Hayah al-Jadidah, at the Allenby Bridge as he was returning to the West Bank from Jordan. On Sept. 27, a military court sentenced him to five months in prison for an undisclosed security offense. On Oct. 10, he was one of 900 Palestinian prisoners released by the Israelis as part of an agreement with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

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Israel, Occupied Territories

September 21, 1995

Awad Awad, Agence France-Presse (AFP) HARASSED
Abdel Rahman Khabeisa, Worldwide Television News (WTN) HARASSED

Awad, a photographer with AFP, and Khabeisa, a cameraman with WTN, were detained and questioned for a few hours by Israeli soldiers. Soldiers arrested the two journalists in Nablus while they were covering clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinians. Awad said that no reason was given for their arrest.

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Israel, Occupied Territories

September 30, 1995

Nadji Dana, TF1 ATTACKED

Jewish settlers attacked Dana, a cameraman for France's TF1 television station, as he filmed them marching through Hebron's old city. The settlers, who were destroying Palestinian property, severely damaged Dana's video camera.

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Jordan

Year in Review: 1995

The freedoms that the print media have enjoyed over the past few years are being threatened. Throughout 1995, the government continued to invoke the Press and Publications Law (enacted in May 1993) against outspoken journalists. In the fall, several journalists were either detained or censored. And by year's end, the Ministry of Information had presented a draft of a new press law which, if passed, would mark a step backward for freedom of the press in Jordan.

One of the most publicized cases of the year was that of Salameh Némat, a correspondent for the international Arabic daily Al-Hayat, who was jailed for two days at the beginning of October. He had published an article alleging that many Jordanian businessmen, journalists and officials were on the Iraqi government's payroll. He was accused of violating two articles of the Press and Publications Law: publishing an article harmful to national unity and writing an article without consideration to objectivity, fairness and accuracy.

In November, the editor in chief and a cartoonist with the left-wing opposition weekly Al-Bilad were arrested by the Amman general prosecutor after Abdel Majid Zneibat, a leader of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, sued them for libel. The prosecutor originally ordered them detained for 14 days, but the editor was released after three. Al-Bilad had been suspended earlier in the year by the Interior Ministry, allegedly because its former editor in chief had failed to take an oath required of members of the Jordanian Press Association (JPA). In December, a journalist was banned from writing for 15 days. The general prosecutor accused him of defaming foreign heads of state.

The tough new press law being drafted by the government at year's end follows King Hussein's call for a curb on irresponsible journalism. Under the 1993 law, press offenses are punishable by fines. The new draft aims at stricter punishment, such as imprisonment, for journalists who violate the law. The amendments would include a requirement for writers to sign articles so that they, as well as their editors, can be subject to legal action. Under this bill, the owner of a paper would not be able to serve as its editor in chief. Capital requirements for a license to publish would be raised to a rate that would be prohibitive for many smaller periodicals. And the prosecutor would have the right to stop a publication before it goes to print, based on a suspicion that it contains material that violates the press law.

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Jordan

February 26, 1995

Al-Bilad CENSORED
Hawadith al-Sa'a CENSORED

Al-Bilad, a left-wing opposition weekly, and Hawadith al-Sa'a, a weekly tabloid, were suspended by the Press and Publications Department of the Interior Ministry because their respective editors in chief, Yousef Ghishan and Jamal Shawahin, had not taken the oath of loyalty to God, country and king that is required of all members of the Jordanian Press Association (JPA). On May 8, Jordan's High Court overturned the suspensions, ruling that, under the Press and Publications Law, the Interior Ministry was not empowered to ban licensed publications.

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Jordan

April 4, 1995

Al-Majd CENSORED

Jordanian security forces confiscated copies of the pro-Syrian opposition weekly Al-Majd at a border post between Jordan and Syria, effectively banning the newspaper's distribution in Syria. The Jordanian authorities argued that Al-Majd should not be allowed to enter Syria, since Syria will not allow the distribution of any Jordanian papers within its borders. Moreover, they argued that the paper "gives a false impression" of the Jordanian press. At the time, there were six lawsuits filed by the Press and Publications Department against Al-Majd, mostly involving alleged slander of heads of friendly Arab states.

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Jordan

October 3, 1995

Salameh Ne'mat, Al-Hayat IMPRISONED, LEGAL, ACTION
Jihad al-Khazen, Al-Hayat IMPRISONED, LEGAL, ACTION

Ne'mat, a correspondent for the London-based, Saudi-owned Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, was jailed after a court turned down his lawyer's request for bail. He was accused of violating two articles of Jordan's Press and Publications Law: publishing an article "harmful to national unity" and writing an article "without consideration to objectivity, fairness and accuracy." The charges stem from an article by Ne'mat, published in Al-Hayat on Sept. 20, which alleged that many Jordanian businessmen, journalists and officials were on the Iraqi government's payroll. The article quoted unnamed Jordanian officials who said the government is investigating the extent of Iraqi influence in media and business circles. CPJ protested the arrest of Ne'mat and urged the government to release him. Ne'mat was released on bail after two days. On Oct. 21, the general prosecutor formally charged Ne'mat and al-Khazen, Al-Hayat's editor in chief. The trial began in January 1996.

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Jordan

November 14, 1995

Khaled Kasasbeh, Al-Bilad IMPRISONED, LEGAL, ACTION
Oussama Hajjaj, Al -Bilad IMPRISONED, LEGAL, ACTION

Kasasbeh, editor in chief of the leftist opposition weekly Al-Bilad, and Hajjaj, a cartoonist with the paper, were arrested. The general prosecutor ordered the arrests after Abdel Majid Zneibat, a leader of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, sued the journalists for defamation. They were both released on Nov. 17.

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Jordan

December 13, 1995

Ali Obeidat, Sawt al-Mar'a CENSORED

The general prosecutor banned the writing of Obeidat, editor in chief of the weekly Sawt al-Mar'a (The Voice of Women), for 15 days for allegedly defaming a foreign head of state, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and for personal attacks against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

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Kuwait

March 15, 1995

Al-Anba' CENSORED

The Council of Ministers suspended the daily Al-Anba' for five days (effective March 16) for having published articles that "harm the country's interests and reputation" and "cause civil strife or hate in Kuwaiti society." The council cited Article 35(b) of the Press and Publications Law, which permits the authorities to stop the publication of periodicals "communicating with foreign agents." Al-Anba' had been publishing interviews with Kuwaiti opposition figures.

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Lebanon

Year in Review: 1995

Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East and North Africa where privately owned and independent television and radio stations are allowed to operate. The Audio-Visual Media Law passed in October 1994 is rather liberal, despite some troublesome restrictions. Under the law, broadcasters may not slander heads of state or religious leaders. They may not air anything that would foster sectarian strife. Nor may they broadcast anything that promotes relations with the Zionist enemy. Those found guilty of serving the interests of a foreign power, endangering the political system or provoking confessional discord (that is, conflict between religious groups) may be sentenced to prison terms. Whether these restrictions are interpreted stringently or leniently remains to be seen; the law remained essentially unenforced in 1995.

Several print journalists faced harsh penalties for slander and libel during the year, however. In June, the editor in chief of the newspaper Al-Diyar was sentenced to three months in prison for defaming a government official. That same month, two journalists with Al-Shira' magazine were sentenced to one month in prison each for "publishing material that was damaging to the person and dignity of the head of state and that contained statements slandering him and some other officials."

The Syrian presence in Lebanon remained a taboo subject. In March, a student at the American University of Beirut was arrested and detained for three days after he published an article in the weekly Nahar al-Shabab referring to Syrian soldiers as foreign occupiers.

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Lebanon

March 25, 1995

Joseph Njaiem, Nahar al-Shabab IMPRISONED

Njaiem, a student at the American University of Beirut and a reporter for the weekly Nahar al-Shabab, was arrested and held for three days by Lebanese military security forces. He had written an article referring to the Syrians as foreign occupiers.

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Lebanon

March 31, 1995

Ramzi Haidar, Agence France-Presse(AFP) ATTACKED

Haidar, a photographer for AFP, was taking pictures of rundown automobiles and traffic congestion in Beirut when a U.S. embassy convoy escorting Chargé d'Affaires Ronald L. Schlicher drove by. Schlicher's bodyguards, who are Lebanese nationals, got out of their vehicle, approached the photographer and demanded that he hand over his film. He refused to do so, and the guards attempted to seize his camera by force, injuring his wrist and shoulder. When Lebanese police officers arrived on the scene they confiscated the film. CPJ wrote to the U.S. embassy in Lebanon to protest the attack on Haidar and urge that those responsible be reprimanded.

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Lebanon

June 26, 1995

Youssef al-Howeyyek, Al-Diyar LEGAL, ACTION

Al-Howeyyek, the editor legally responsible for the daily newspaper Al-Diyar, was sentenced by the Publications Court to three months in prison for libeling a member of parliament. The conviction stemmed from an article, published on Nov. 27, 1994, that suggested that Saoud Rouphael, a deputy from the eastern Bekaa Valley, was involved in the drug trade. In a letter to the government, CPJ urged that al-Howeyyek's conviction be overturned.

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Lebanon

June 28, 1995

Hassan Sabra, Al-Shira' LEGAL, ACTION
Ghazi al-Maqhur, Al-Shira' LEGAL, ACTION

Beirut's Publications Court sentenced Sabra, publisher of the weekly magazine Al-Shira', and al-Maqhur, its managing editor, to one month in prison. The two were convicted of publishing "material that was damaging to the person and dignity of the head of state and that contained statements slandering him and some other officials." The charges stemmed from an editorial, published in Al-Shira' on Nov. 25, 1991, entitled "Reform or Resign." CPJ urged the government to overturn the convictions and introduce legislation that would abolish criminal libel.

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Lebanon

July 19, 1995

Faris Abi Saab, Abaad IMPRISONED

Abi Saab, the editor of Abaad (a publication of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies), was among those arrested at an unauthorized demonstration organized by the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers. Abi Saab was covering the event. CPJ protested the arrest and urged the government to release him immediately. Abi Saab was released on July 24, after his one-month prison sentence was commuted to a fine of 100,000 pounds.

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Mauritania

Year in Review: 1995

Article 11 of the 1991 ordinance regulating Mauritania's press gives the interior minister the power to ban the circulation, distribution or sale of newspapers and other written materials, periodical or otherwise, if they are of foreign inspiration or origin, or if they are likely to harm Islamic principles or the authority of the state, jeopardize the common good or compromise public order and security. In 1994, the newly appointed interior minister, Mohamed Lamine Salem Ould Dah, began to invoke this article repeatedly, often to silence reports about human rights violations committed against black Mauritanians by the Arab- and Berber-dominated government. This year the government lashed out at the press for its coverage of tensions between opposition parties and the government.

In late January, protests and riots erupted in the streets of Nouakchott. The capital was under curfew, and the government banished several opposition leaders to the desert. During this period, several journalists who were covering the protests were roughed up by police officers. Reporters and photographers had their equipment confiscated, their credentials torn up and their film destroyed.

In the fall, the government started rounding up members of the opposition Baath Party, including several journalists. The campaign triggered a new round of press freedom violations. First, on Oct. 23, the government banned two periodicals, Akhbar el-Sbouh and Oufouq el-Arabi, due to their affiliation with the Baath Party. A couple of weeks later, the Interior Ministry prevented the publication of an issue of the independent weekly Mauritanie Nouvelles, apparently because it included articles about the arrest campaign and the detention of journalists. And on Nov. 11, the ministry banned an issue of Le Calame that reported on the trial of Baath Party members.

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Mauritania

January 23, 1995

Karine Ancellin-Saleck, Mauritanie Nouvelles ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Baba Fall, Mauritanie Nouvelles ATTACKED, , HARASSED

Ancellin-Saleck, a reporter with the independent French-language weekly Mauritanie Nouvelles, and Fall, a photojournalist with the publication, were assaulted by police officers while covering street disturbances in the capital. Ancellin-Saleck's car and Fall's camera were confiscated for the day.

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Mauritania

January 26, 1995

Bah Ould Saleck, Mauritanie Nouvelles ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Abdallahi Ould Mohamdi, Middle East Broadcasting Company ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Abdallahi Ould Hormettallah, Le Calame ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Mohamed Ali Abady, Al-Bayane ATTACKED, , HARASSED

Ould Saleck, director of the French-language weekly Mauritanie Nouvelles and president of the National Association of the Independent Press (ANPI); Ould Mohamdi, correspondent for the Middle East Broadcasting Company; Ould Hormettallah, a journalist with the weekly Le Calame; and Abady, a journalist with the weekly Al-Bayane, were assaulted by police officers in the afternoon while covering a march in Nouakchott organized by the opposition. Ould Saleck was harassed by a security service commander who seized his camera, destroyed his film, ripped up his press card and hurled insults at him. At the time, the capital was under curfew, and the government had banished certain opposition leaders to the desert.

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Mauritania

October

Akhbar El Sbouh CENSORED
Oufouq el Arabi CENSORED

The weeklies Oufouq El Arabi and Akhbar El Sbouh were banned because of their affiliation with the Baath Party. At year's end, they were still closed.

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mauritania

November 9, 1995

Mauritanie Nouvelles CENSORED
Le Calame CENSORED

The Interior Ministry censored the Nov. 9 edition of the independent daily (formerly weekly) Mauritanie Nouvelles. Ministry officials kept the film of the issue all day, forcing the newspaper to miss its six-hour deadline for obtaining authorization to print. The offending issue contained stories about the arrest of Baath Party members, including the detention of several journalists. On Nov. 11 the Interior Ministry banned issue No. 109 of Le Calame, which included articles on the trial of members of the Baath Party.

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Morocco

Year in Review: 1995

Article 9(b) of the Moroccan constitution guarantees the freedoms of opinion and expression in all their forms. There are, however, certain restrictions on these freedoms. Article 77 of the press code, for example, prohibits journalists from insulting the royal family or Islam and from questioning Morocco's territorial integrity--particularly its sovereignty over Western Sahara. Nonetheless, a profound change has occurred over the past few years. Though the government media--which include virtually all television and radio--remain monolithic, the rest of the press is enjoying expanded freedom, within clear limits.

Reports on the royal family, for example, are subject to prior authorization. Such a restriction can be invoked as a pretext for what is, in effect, political censorship. In the early morning of Jan. 6, 1995, agents of the Interior Ministry seized that week's edition of the independent Maroc-Hebdo at the paper's printing house in Casablanca. According to the ministry, the weekly had published statements by a member of the royal family without submitting them to the appropriate authorities for prior authorization. However, Maroc-Hebdo director Mohammed Selhami believes that the confiscation was motivated by an article on the imminent departure of Driss Basri from his post as interior minister.

In November, the weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique announced that it had been banned in Morocco until further notice. The Rabat police chief had banned the sale and distribution of the magazine throughout the country on orders from the royal prosecutor. No explanation was given for the ban. Copies of Jeune Afrique's Nov. 16 edition, which carried an article on Morocco entitled "Uncertain Times," had been seized.

In January 1995, the parliament passed the Statute of Journalists, a law that secures certain legal rights for the profession, including the right to have access to sources of information. The statute fell short of journalists' expectations, though, because it does not apply to journalists employed by the government, the state press agency or the broadcast media. Nor does the statute protect the confidentiality of sources.

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Morocco

January 6, 1995

Maroc-Hebdo CENSORED

Interior Ministry agents seized that week's edition of the independent Maroc-Hebdo at the paper's printing house in Casablanca. According to the Ministry of Information, the weekly was seized because it published statements by a member of the royal family, which meant the issue had to be submitted to the apropriate authorities for prior authorization. Maroc-Hebdo director Mohammed Selhami, however, maintains that the edition violated no laws. He also believes that the confiscation was motivated by an article speculating about the imminent departure of Driss Basri from his post as interior minister.

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Morocco

September 15, 1995

Mustapha 'Alaoui, Al Usbou' al-Sahafi wa al-Siyasi ATTACKED

'Alaoui, director of the Arabic-language weekly Al-Usbou' al-Sahafi wa al-Siyasi, was attacked by two men. The attackers entered his office and threatened him with a gun. One of the men shot and wounded 'Alaoui in the head. The gunman, a Morroccan employee of the Israeli Communications Bureau in Rabat, wanted to stop 'Alaoui from writing about his work.

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Morocco

November 16, 1995

Jeune Afrique CENSORED

The Paris-based weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique was banned in Morocco until further notice. The magazine reported that copies of its Nov. 16 issue, which included an article on Morocco entitled "Uncertain Times," had been seized by authorities without explanation.

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Qatar

December 6, 1995

Al-Watan CENSORED

The government suspended the daily Al-Watan for one month. The decision stemmed from the paper's publication of the draft of a communiqué of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit. Authorities deemed this to be a violation of Article 47 of the Press and Publication Law.

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Syria

Year in Review: 1995

The brutal regime of President Hafez al-Assad has all but eradicated professional journalism in Syria, home of the first Arabic printing press and once an intellectual and literary center of the Arab world. All the dailies are government run. The slightest transgression by a reporter or editor will result, at the very least, in dismissal. Journalists are well aware that prolonged imprisonment and torture are possible consequences of criticizing government policies. Newspapers therefore have very low circulation figures, especially given Syria's relatively large literate population. In addition to internal censorship, Syria has aggressively exported censorship (most notably to Lebanon).

In the fall of 1995, Assad ordered the release of hundreds of political prisoners. CPJ has been able to confirm the release of three long-imprisoned journalists, one of whom had been in prison for 15 years. Six journalists remain in Syrian prisons. It is too early to tell if the latest amnesty augurs an expansion in press freedom and civil liberties. But past experience in Syria suggests not.

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Tunisia

Year in Review: 1995

The Tunisian press is stifled. The government exercises tight controls on sources of information and exerts tremendous financial and political pressure on news organizations. Overt government censorship is hardly necessary. Journalists, fearing for their jobs and liberty, have learned to practice self-censorship.

Several people associated with Al-Fajr, the outlawed weekly of the pro-Islamist Al-Nahda Party, have been imprisoned since 1992. They include the paper's editor, Hamadi Jebali, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison, and Abdellah Zouari, a writer for the paper, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Another imprisoned Al-Fajr journalist, Jaouhari Sahnoun, who had served four years of a 15-year sentence, died of cancer in a Tunis hospital in January.

In April the editor of a leftist publication was sentenced to five years in prison: Mohamed Kilani of Al-Badil, the outlawed organ of the Tunisian Communist Workers Party, was charged under the Press Code and Article 54 of the Penal Code with possession of publications that would disturb public order and with defaming a political personality. This sentence came on top of his two-year sentence, handed down on Feb. 22, for belonging to an outlawed organization and holding illegal meetings. On Nov. 7, Kilani was pardoned by President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as part of an amnesty on the occasion of the eighth anniversary of his coming to power.

The government lifted the bans on the French papers Le Monde and Libération at the beginning of March. They had been banned in March and April of 1994, respectively.

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Tunisia

April 27, 1995

Mohamed Kilani, Al Badil IMPRISONED, LEGAL, ACTION

Kilani, editor in chief of the Communist Al-Badil newspaper, was sentenced to five years in prison after he was convicted of possession of illegal publications. This sentence came in addition to Kilani's two-year sentence, handed down on Feb. 22, 1995, for belonging to a banned organization and holding illegal meetings. Accounts of Kilani's trial raise serious doubts as to whether he was accorded due process. His lawyers were denied access to the publication he was accused of possessing because the judge ruled that the material "endangered national security." Several respected lawyers who had been observing the trial protested its unfairness by walking out. CPJ wrote to the Tunisian government and urged officials to overturn Kilani's conviction. Kilani was granted a pardon and released from prison by President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali on Nov. 7, 1995, the eighth anniversary of Ben Ali's presidency.

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Turkey

1995

Bulent Sumbul, özgür Halk IMPRISONED

Sumbul, a reporter working in the Diyarbakir bureau of the pro-Kurdish Özgür Halk monthly magazine, was arrested in a police raid on the office. Tried and convicted under the Anti-Terror Law, he was sentenced to three years in prison. He is being held in Diyarbakir Prison.

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Turkey

1995

Emine Buyrukcan, Özgür Halk IMPRISONED

Buyrukcan, formerly the editor responsible for the pro-Kurdish monthly magazine Özgür Halk, was arrested. She is being held in Istanbul's Bayrampasa Prison.

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Turkey

Year in Review: 1995

For most of 1995 press conditions continued to deteriorate. Turkey has the dubious honor of imprisoning more journalists than any other country for the second consecutive year. The government trend toward targeting more mainstream journalists, begun in earnest in 1994, continued in 1995 with the prosecution of the prominent writer and journalist Yasar Kemal for an article he wrote for the German magazine Der Spiegel. The courts proceeded with the trials of dozens of journalists, including many from mainstream publications, in addition to editors and reporters with pro-Kurdish or leftist publications.

For much of the year the government's favored tool of press repression remained Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. Under this law, anything but the government's account of what happened or should happen in the Southeast, where the government is fighting a 10-year-old war against the insurgent Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), is considered PKK propaganda. No line was drawn between commentary and news reports in the application of this law. In other words, plain reporting about a battle between the insurgents and the government was considered separatist propaganda if it did not conform to the government's account, and as such was punishable by a prison term.

As the date of the European Parliament's vote on whether to admit Turkey to its customs union drew nearer, the government's abysmal press freedom and human rights records came under virtually unprecedented international scrutiny. Article 8, which Prime Minister Tansu Çiller had publicly promised to amend, became a fulcrum for international criticism of the government's repression of free expression. Consequently, prosecutors began to favor using Article 312 of the Penal Code against journalists. This charge was used against Istanbul-based Reuter correspondent Aliza Marcus. She was notified in September that she had been charged with inciting racial hatred for a Reuter story issued Nov. 25, 1994, and printed in a subscribing pro-Kurdish paper with her byline, reporting the forcible evacuation of Kurdish villages as part of a military strategy against the Kurdish guerrillas in southeast Turkey. The prosecution of Marcus was the first in memory of a resident foreign correspondent. She was acquitted by an Istanbul State Security Court on Nov. 9, after an international protest campaign led by CPJ, which included a meeting in Ankara between CPJ Honorary Chairman Walter Cronkite and Prime Minister Çiller.

With the European Parliament's vote only weeks away, the Turkish Parliament voted to amend the controversial Article 8. The minor change in the phrasing of the law gives judges some latitude in terms of interpretation and sentencing. The change could be construed as requiring proof of intent to commit separatist propaganda for conviction. Prison terms under Article 8 were reduced to one to three years vs. the previous two- to five-year terms. The reform also permits State Security Court judges to hand down suspended sentences and to substitute fines forprison sentences. The shortcomings of the amendment are obvious. The principle of imprisonment for writing remains in place, and separatist propaganda remains an ill-defined concept. The state also maintained its arsenal of other repressive legal tools, including several articles of the Penal Code.

In practice, however, the reform has had a tangible effect. The prosecution of many journalists begun under the old Article 8 has been halted. And it appears that some journalists imprisoned under the law have been freed. There also has been a marked decrease in confiscations of pro-Kurdish publications. These developments have occurred in the context of the immediate prelude to the European Parliament's vote. With Turkey's admission in December, advocates of press freedom and human rights have lost leverage. It is too early to tell if the recent pattern of liberalization will survive into the new year. The election of an overwhelmingly conservative parliament does not bode well for press freedom in 1996.

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Turkey

January 4, 1995

Mustafa Yilmaz, Jiyana Nu IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Ali Demir, Jiyana Nu IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Nesihi Çilgin, Jiyana Nu IMPRISONED, CENSORED
Jiyana Nu IMPRISONED, CENSORED

The pro-Kurdish weekly newspaper Jiyana Nu was under constant pressure in 1995. Yilmaz, its editor in chief, was arrested on Jan. 4 on charges related to articles that were published in the paper. Two of the paper's other editors were arrested: Demir, for other articles, on Jan. 11; and Çilgin on April 5. Demir and Yilmaz were released on April 7 and April 20, respectively, pending the conclusion of their trials. Çilgin was not released until June. The newspaper was ordered shut down on April 29 because its editor was in jail. After 30 issues, Jiyana Nu stopped publishing. Although the paper could assign a new editor to resume publication, the staff, fearing further arrests, decided to disband after the final court decision.

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Turkey

January 4, 1995

Salih Güler, Özgür Ülke IMPRISONED

Güler, a Diyarbakir correspondent for the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Ülke, was detained after a police raid on the paper's office. Güler told CPJ he was interrogated for 27 days, blindfolded and with his hands tied behind his back. At the end of his detention, while still blindfolded, he was forced to sign a document that he couldn't see. He was taken before a judge and released for lack of evidence.

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Turkey

January 6, 1995

Özgür Ülke CENSORED
Taraf CENSORED
Gerçek CENSORED
Alinteri CENSORED
Newroz CENSORED

Police and courts began confiscating newspapers and magazines deemed "separatist" before distribution. The pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Ülke, the left-wing weeklies Gerçek and Alinteri, and the pro-Kurdish weekly Newroz were subjected to this new systematic confiscation effort.

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Turkey

January 6, 1995

Hürriyet ATTACKED

A small bomb was thrown at the Istanbul headquarters of the right-wing daily Hürriyet from a passing car. The bomb exploded in a pond between the road and the paper's office. There were no injuries. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Turkey

January 9, 1995

Ali Toprak, Atilim IMPRISONED
Vahit Colak, Atilim IMPRISONED

Toprak and Colak, reporters with the leftist Atilim weekly, were detained following a police raid on the paper's Ankara office. Colak was released on Jan. 12. Toprak remains in prison.

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Turkey

January 20, 1995

Aktüel LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED

The Jan. 19 issue of the mainstream political weekly Aktüel was confiscated for reprinting an article by Turkey's most famous writer and journalist, Yasar Kemal. The original article, about the plight of Kurds in Turkey, appeared in the German magazine Der Spiegel on Jan. 9.

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Turkey

January 28, 1995

Yasar Kaplan, Beklenen Vakit ATTACKED

A bomb was planted in front of the apartment door of Kaplan, a columnist for the Islamist daily Beklenen Vakit, after he wrote a column criticizing the outlawed Islamist group IBDA-C. Kaplan was not home, and no one was injured by the explosion. IBDA-C called newspapers and claimed responsibility for the attack the same day. In his Jan.17 column, Kaplan had written that "there cannot be Muslim terrorists" and that IBDA-C members were "puppets of the system."

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Turkey

February 2, 1995

Özgür Ülke LEGAL, ACTION

The pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Ülke was shut down when an Istanbul court decided that it was the successor of the then-defunct pro-Kurdish paper Özgür Gündem, and that therefore its publication violated the press law stating that "any publication that is clearly a continuation of a publication that was shut down by court order is banned from publication and will be confiscated." There were 24 closure decisions against Özgür Gündem at the time. According to the paper's lawyer, these added up to closure for more than a year. The staff of Özgür Gündem had started publishing Özgür Ülke after the former stopped its presses in April 1994. Ülke's editorial line and coverage resembled closely those of Gündem. CPJ condemned the court decision in a Feb. 3 letter as "another effort to silence opposition voices" and called on the government to end the legal pressure on opposition media.

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Turkey

February 6, 1995

Denge-Azadi LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED
Kurtulus LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED

The pro-Kurdish weekly Denge-Azadi was shut down by court order, accused of being a successor of a publication that was ordered closed for temporary periods. Authorities claim that Denge-Azadi followed the same editorial line and employed the same staff as Azadi, which disbanded in May 1994.

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Turkey

February 14, 1995

Abdurrahman Dilipak LEGAL, ACTION

Right-wing journalist and TV producer Dilipak was charged with insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Atatürk, in a video he had made as a pilot for a possible TV program. The tape was reproduced in Germany without his permission and distributed privately. But it turned up in the prosecutor's hands in Istanbul. Dilipak told CPJ that he shouldn't be tried for an unfinished production that was never aired. He also said there is no "insult" of Atatürk in the tape, only "criticism": "This law stifles criticism against one person under the guise of 'insulting.'"

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Turkey

March 3, 1995

Ioannis Kokkinidis, Adesmestos Typos EXPELLED
Michalis Girmis, Adesmestos Typos EXPELLED
ADDED TRANSLATOR:OK? EXPELLED

Kokkinidis, a Greek journalist with the newspaper Adesmestos Typos, and his interpreter, Michalis Girmis, were deported to Greece after being detained for four days in Diyarbakir. The Turkish government said they were detained and deported because they had not obtained press credentials from the Turkish authorities as foreign journalists are required to do. The Greek journalists said they didn't ask for credentials because they didn't want the Turkish government to monitor their actions. They said they were working on a story on human rights abuses in the southeast.

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Turkey

March 13, 1995

Hasan Yildirim, Meydan ATTACKED
Ihsan Aykin, Meydan ATTACKED
Cezmi Sayilgan, TGRT ATTACKED

During protests and riots following an armed attack on a coffee shop in Gazipasa, Istanbul, many journalists were mistreated by the security forces. Among them were Yildirim and Aykin, photojournalists for the mainstream daily Meydan, who were severely beaten by the police when they tried to photograph a wounded police lieutenant. Yildirim was hospitalized after the beating. News reports about the incident appeared in Meydan for a few days, but the reporters were not informed of any police investigation into the abuse.

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Turkey

March 14, 1995

Deran Ata, Mozaik Radio HARASSED, LEGAL, ACTION
Erdinç Özatan, Çagdas Radio HARASSED, LEGAL, ACTION
Cumhur Buyuran, Imaj Radio HARASSED, LEGAL, ACTION

The directors of three local radio stations in Ankara were detained briefly by the police after reporting on a planned political rally in Istanbul. The stations' news broadcasts had included an announcement by the Ankara Democratic Platform about a rally it was organizing. Buyuran and özatan were charged with "inciting people to illegal activity" because the platform had not obtained the necessary permission for the rally from the governor's office. The radio stations insist that they did not include any commentary or issue a call for the rally, but only reported the news that it was being planned. The cases against Buyuran and Ata were dropped by the court without any explanation. The one against Özatan continues. All three stations also received warnings from the Radio and Television Supervision Council.

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Turkey

March 27, 1995

Foreign correspondents CENSORED
Local journalists working for foreign media CENSORED

In the second week of a large-scale Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq, the Turkish government barred foreign correspondents and Turkish journalists working for foreign media from entering northern Iraq. Authorities continued to allow accredited Turkish journalists to cross the Turkish border to Iraq.

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Turkey

March 31, 1995

Kadri Gürsel, Agence France-Presse (AFP) IMPRISONED
Fatih Saribas, Reuters IMPRISONED

Gürsel, a reporter for AFP, and Saribas, a photographer for Reuters, were abducted by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) at a roadblock near Cizre in southeastern Turkey. Ali Garzan, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan National Liberation Front (ERNK), told Reuters that the two reporters "were led away for their safety." Kurd-A news agency stated that they were being protected from the fighting in the region. However, the account given by the two journalists' driver made it clear that they were taken away by PKK guerrillas against their will and were singled out because they were journalists.

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Turkey

April 4, 1995

Leena Reikko, Finnish Broadcasting Company HARASSED
Tom Kakkonnen, Finnish Broadcasting Company HARASSED

Turkish security forces stopped Reikko and Kakkonnen, journalists with the Finnish Broadcasting Company, in Diyarbakir just before they could board a plane back to Istanbul and confiscated their videotapes and audiotapes. The journalists were taken to the Diyarbakir police station the next day. Despite their many attempts, the efforts of the Finnish embassy and CPJ's appeal to the regional governor, they never got their materials back. After this incident, the two journalists were denied access to Turkish radio and television studios in Istanbul where they had been editing their reports. Reikko had been based in Turkey as a journalist for five years, during which she had used the studios regularly. The videotapes contained footage of the corpses of seven shepherds who were allegedly killed by the Turkish forces during their incursion into Iraq.

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Turkey

April 7, 1995

Yeni Politika HARASSED, CENSORED

The offices of the pro-Kurdish newspaper Yeni Politika were raided a week before it published its first issue. Six journalists were detained for three days. On April 13 the inaugural issue was confiscated by the authorities for alleged "separatist propaganda." The confiscation order was issued for the newspaper so early that even its first edition had blank spaces replacing articles deemed "separatist."

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Turkey

April 12, 1995

Alper Görmüs, Aktüel LEGAL, ACTION
Ercan Arikli, Aktüel LEGAL, ACTION

Görmüs, editor in chief of the mainstream weekly Aktüel, was sentenced to five months in prison and a fine of US$5,000 for an interview published in the magazine in 1993. Arikli, the owner of Aktüel, was fined US$10,000. The published interview was found to have "disseminated propaganda for a terrorist organization" under the Anti-Terror Law. The decision is being appealed.

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Turkey

April 12, 1995

Necmiye Arslanoglu, özgür Halk IMPRISONED

Arslanoglu, a journalist with the monthly özgür Halk, was arrested at its Diyarbakir offices. She was charged with membership in the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and with disseminating separatist propaganda. There are reports that she was tortured during her incarceration at a Diyarbakir prison. Her trial began June 20. CPJ wrote to the Turkish government urging it to release Arslanoglu. Amnesty International reported that she was released in November, but CPJ has not been able to confirm her release.

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Turkey

April 19, 1995

Ramazan Akin, Yeni Asir HARASSED

Akin, a photojournalist for the mainstream Izmir daily Yeni Asir, was detained by the police for attempting to photograph the arrest of two civilians by plainclothes police officers. He was taken to the police station, and his handcuffs, which were so tight they cut into his wrists, were not removed for 45 minutes. Yeni Asir intervened; the police chief agreed Akin had done nothing wrong and released him, promising that an internal investigation would be made regarding the officer who harassed and detained him. The police did not reveal the results of their investigation or the punishment, if any, the officer might have received.

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Turkey

April 24, 1995

Newroz magazine CENSORED

Intense government pressure forced Newroz, a Kurdish-Turkish weekly magazine, to shut down for several weeks. A new system of confiscating periodicals, implemented in January by the police and the judiciary, had made it impossible for the magazine to reach its readers. Because it is a weekly and because it paid for aborted distribution, Newroz was crippled economically under the new system. Also, in early April, a court ordered the magazine closed for one month because of articles it had published.

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Turkey

May 1, 1995

Ferit Demir, Cumhuriyet, Milliyet, Reuters, BBC IMPRISONED

Demir, a reporter for the Turkish dailies Cumhuriyet and Milliyet, as well as for the British news agency Reuters and BBC television, was abducted by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) at a roadblock near Tunceli in eastern Turkey. CPJ demanded that the PKK release him immediately. Demir was held for a week and released on May 8. After his release, Demir told Reuters that he had not been mistreated.

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Turkey

May 5, 1995

Yasar Kemal, journalist-writer LEGAL, ACTION

Turkey's most famous writer, Kemal, was taken to court for an article he wrote for the German magazine Der Spiegel. He was charged with writing "separatist propaganda" under Turkey's Anti-Terror Law. The article, "Campaign of Lies," was about the mistreatment of the country's Kurdish minority by past and present Turkish governments. Kemal faces two to five years imprisonment if convicted. The article was reprinted in a book, published in Turkey, called Freedom of Thought and Turkey, and in Denge-Azadi magazine in Turkey. Kemal was questioned about the reprints in two additional legal proceedings, both of which could also result in trials in the near future. CPJ called on the Turkish government on May 3, World Freedom Day, to speed up its efforts on the elimination of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, which was used to charge Kemal and the more than 100 journalists and writers who were imprisoned in Turkey. On Dec. 1, 1995, in the wake of an amendment of Article 8, an Istanbul court ordered that all legal proceedings against Kemal be dropped.

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Turkey

May 16, 1995

Hidir Goktas, Yeni Yuzyil LEGAL, ACTION
Metin Gulbay, Yeni Yuzyil LEGAL, ACTION
Hasan Basri Ciplak, Yeni Yuzyil LEGAL, ACTION

Goktas, a reporter for the daily Yeni Yuzyil and a stringer for Reuters; Gülbay, a journalist with Yeni Yuzyil; and their publisher, Ciplak, were sentenced under Turkey's Anti-Terror Law for quoting allegedly separatist comments by Kurdish M.P. Hatip Dicle, who was jailed last year for his connections with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). An Istanbul State Security Court sentenced Goktas and Gülbay, co-authors of the book From Cold War to Hot Peace--The New World Order and Turkey, to 20 months in prison, while Ciplak received a five-month sentence, though none of the men was present at the proceedings. All three are free pending an appeal. They were sentenced under the Anti-Terror Law's Article 8, which outlaws separatist propaganda. Dicle was quoted as saying that the Kurds were "in the process of forming a nation," and calling their homeland "Kurdistan," a word whose use in Turkey is often equated with support for separatist rebels.

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Turkey

May 17, 1995

Ahmet Altan, Milliyet LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED
Express LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED
Söz LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED

Altan, a columnist for the mainstream daily Milliyet, was taken to court for a column he wrote on April 17. The column, "Atakürt" (Father of Kurds), featured the writer's musings on what modern Turkey would be like if Atatürk (Father of Turks), its founder, were of Kurdish, instead of Turkish, origin. Altan was charged with inciting people to enmity under Article 312 of the Penal Code. Altan also lost his job at Milliyet after the article created controversy in Turkey. The editor in chief of Milliyet resigned, along with some other editors and columnists, to protest Altan's removal. If convicted, Altan faces six years in prison. The weekly magazines Express and Söz, which reprinted Altan's article, were confiscated by court order the following week. Charges were filed against the moderate left-wing weekly Express.

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Turkey

May 17, 1995

Ertan Aydin, Özgür Gündem IMPRISONED

Aydin, a newspaper cartoonist, was incarcerated in an Ankara prison for a drawing published in April 1992 in issue No. 15 of the now-defunct daily Özgür Gündem. The drawing criticized human rights violations in Turkey.

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Turkey

May 23, 1995

Faruk Deniz, Özgür Ülke IMPRISONED

Deniz, a journalist with the now-defunct pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Ülke, was arrested. Accused of aiding an outlawed organization, he is being held in Bayrampasa Prison in Istanbul.

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Turkey

June 2, 1995

Sanh Ekin, Yeni Politika IMPRISONED

Ekin, the news director of the pro-Kurdish daily Yeni Politika, was taken into custody by police in Istanbul. He was released two days later.

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Turkey

June 2, 1995

Salih Bal, Medya Gunesi IMPRISONED

Bal, former editor in chief of the Kurdish-language Medya Gunesi, was arrested with his wife after their home was raided by police. He and his wife, who was eight months pregnant at the time, were held for 11 days at the anti-terror branch of Istanbul Police Headquarters and then released.

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Turkey

June 15, 1995

Bulent Oner, Atilim IMPRISONED
Hasan Abali, Atilim IMPRISONED
Fatma Harman, Atilim IMPRISONED

Oner, Abali and Harman, reporters for the leftist weekly Atilim, were taken into custody during a police raid on the newspaper's Mersin bureau. On June 24, the three reporters were formally arrested. They remain in prison.

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Turkey

June 20, 1995

Sabahat Varol, Devrimci Genclik IMPRISONED

Varol, a journalist with the magazine Devrimci Gençlik, was detained along with lawyer Ahmet Duzgun Yuksel as they were leaving the latter's office. Varol is being held incommunicado at Istanbul Police Headquarters. Yuksel was released on June 26.

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Turkey

July 14, 1995

Ziya Köseoglu, Yeni Politika IMPRISONED

Köseoglu, a Malatya-based journalist with the pro-Kurdish daily Yeni Politika, was detained by security forces in the Yazihan district of Malatya. He was released the next day.

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Turkey

July 14, 1995

Erdal Dogan, Alinteri IMPRISONED

Dogan, a reporter in the Ankara office of the leftist weekly Alinteri, was arrested. He was still in custody at the end of 1995.

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Turkey

August 5, 1995

Yakup Karademir, Roj IMPRISONED

Karademir, managing editor of the weekly Roj, was arrested in Mardin. He was accompanying a France-Libertés and International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) mission to southeast Turkey to study prison conditions for political prisoners. He was released after three days.

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Turkey

August 12, 1995

Hulya Akinci, Alinteri IMPRISONED

Akinci, a reporter working in the Adana bureau of the weekly leftist newspaper Alinteri, was detained by police. She was formally arrested on Aug. 14 and remains in custody.

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Turkey

August 16, 1995

Yeni Politika CENSORED

The Istanbul criminal court found that Yeni Politika is a successor of Özgür Gündem and Özgür Ülke, two other pro-Kurdish dailies that were effectively banned. The court ruled that Yeni Politika is in violation of the press law stating that "any publication that is clearly a continuation of a publication that was shut down by court order is banned from publication and will be confiscated." The law also assigns one- to six-month prison terms to editors and publishers who persist in publication.

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Turkey

August 22, 1995

Sayfettin Tepe, Yeni Politika KILLED, IMPRISONED
Ramazan Otunc, Yeni Politika IMPRISONED
Aydin Bolkan, Yeni Politika IMPRISONED

Tepe, a correspondent in the southeastern city of Batman for the banned Yeni Politika newspaper, was taken into custody on Aug. 22, together with two colleagues from the newspaper, Otunc and Bolkan. His colleagues were released the same day, but Tepe was kept in detention and moved, on Aug. 26, to the Bitlis Security Directorate. Tepe died in custody on Aug. 29. His family was told that he committed suicide but does not accept this explanation. CPJ has urged the Turkish government to conduct a thorough investigation of Tepe's death.

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Turkey

September 9, 1995

Melek Tukur, Alinteri IMPRISONED

Tukur, a reporter in Maltaya for the leftist weekly newspaper Alinteri, was taken in for questioning by police. After interrogation, Tukur was formally arrested by the police. She remains in detention.

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Turkey

September 12, 1995

Nezih Tavlas, Strategy News Bulletin LEGAL, ACTION

The trial of Tavlas, editor of the newsletter Strategy News Bulletin, began in Ankara State Security Court. He was charged with "revealing state secrets" in articles he published in the bulletin, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison. The articles in question criticized certain purchasing decisions of the Turkish air force and suggested that the air force chief of staff's decisions may have reflected his personal connection to the company allegedly involved in the purchases. The chief of staff's son, daughter-in-law and nephew all work for this firm. The air force claimed that Tavlas quoted from a classified document in his articles. Tavlas denied this and maintained that his articles were based on public information. CPJ wrote to Prime Minister Çiller and urged her to advise the appropriate judicial authorities to drop the charges against Tavlas. On Dec. 27, the state security court acquitted Tavlas.

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Turkey

October 12, 1995

Aliza Marcus, Reuters HARASSED

Marcus, a Reuter correspondent in Istanbul who has been based in Turkey since May 1994, appeared in a State Security Court to face charges based on Article 312 of Turkey's Penal Code. The charge of alleged intent to incite "racial hatred" referred to a Reuter story issued Nov. 25, 1994, with Marcus' byline, reporting the forcible evacuation of Kurdish villages as part of a military strategy against the Kurdish guerrillas in southeast Turkey. The dispatch from Marcus was printed in Turkey in the newspaper Özgür Ülke, a Reuter subscriber, which was later closed by Turkish authorities for its allegedly illegal coverage of Kurdish separatism. In Istanbul's State Security Court, Marcus' lawyers argued that the charge against her was invalid under a six-month statute of limitations since formal charges were not brought until July 1995. Marcus was not informed of the charges against her until mid-September. CPJ urged the government to end the prosecution of Marcus immediately after she was notified of the charges. CPJ Honorary Chairman Walter Cronkite met with Prime Minister Tansu Çiller in late September and asked her to have the charges dropped. At Marcus' first court appearance, the tribunal refused to drop the case and set a trial date of Nov. 9. At that hearing the judges acquitted her for lack of evidence.

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Turkey

Novmeber

Kemal Sahin, Özgür Gündem. IMPRISONED

Sahin, the former editor in chief of the now-defunct pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, was arrested and accused of being a member of an outlawed organization. There are also several cases pending against him stemming from his days as the daily's editor. He is being held in Umraniye Prison in Istanbul.

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Turkey

December 12, 1995

Savasa Karsi Baris CENSORED

A State Security Court issued an order to confiscate all copies of the December issue of the monthly magazine Savasa Karsi Baris. The magazine published an excerpt of the Human Rights Watch report "Weapons Transfers and Violations of the Laws of War in Turkey."

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Turkey

December 21, 1995

Milliyet CENSORED
Evrensel CENSORED
Hürriyet CENSORED
Posta CENSORED
Fanatik CENSORED
HBB CENSORED
Flash TV CENSORED

A prosecutor ordered issues of the Dec. 21 edition of four dailies--Milliyet, a high-circulation mainstream paper; Everensel, a small left-wing paper; Posta, a tabloid; and Fanatik, a sports newspaper--confiscated for carrying election polls three days before parliamentary elections. A Turkish law forbids publication of election polls for a two-month period prior to national elections. Two national television stations, HBB and Flash TV, were ordered not to broadcast on Jan. 9, 1996, as a result of their having aired poll results. Hürriyet, a leading daily, was confiscated on Dec. 22. Posta was January 3

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Yemen

Year in Review: 1995

Yemen enjoys the freest press in the Arabian peninsula. But many journalists in Yemen believe that the independent press has not fulfilled the promise of its golden era. The period after the 1990 unification of the former Yemen Arab Republic (north Yemen) and the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (south Yemen) witnessed the birth of political pluralism and of hundreds of new publications, all protected by the most liberal press laws in the region. The government has maintained full control over all broadcast media.

The Yemeni press soon discovered that its freedoms were subject to political developments. The war resulting from the attempted secession of the south in 1994 has had a lasting effect on the press. Papers associated with the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which had led the secession, were closed. Other publications that were critical of government actions during the war or its aftermath were suspended.

In 1995, the government used indirect means to curb critical voices. Authorities have yet to apprehend the perpetrators of an attempted bombing of the home of a newspaper publisher. Abu Bakr al-Saqqaf, a prominent intellectual and contributor to opposition papers, was twice abducted and beaten by men he believes are agents of the Political Security Office. During the second attack, in December, his assailants beat and shocked him with electric batons as they yelled at him to stop writing. The government has denied responsibility for the attacks.

In another case, the government exploited an intraparty dispute to shut down that party's newspaper, which has served as a forum for government critics. Al-Shoura remains closed despite a court ruling that its closure was illegal.

Economic hardship remains a tremendous obstacle for the independent media. One of the few success stories is the English-language weekly Yemen Times. It has managed to maintain its financial--and hence its editorial--independence because of its advertising revenues. Its target audience is the relatively affluent foreign community. For Arabic newspapers the market is much less promising. Yemen is one of the world's poorest countries and has a high illiteracy rate.

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Yemen

January 3, 1995

Al-Ayyam CENSORED

In the evening, the state-owned 14th of October Press returned the money the independent Aden-based weekly Al-Ayyam had given it to print its 200th issue. The press claimed it could not do the job because its equipment was in disrepair. The next morning Hisham Bashraheel, the paper's editor in chief and one of its publishers, obtained a court order requiring the 14th of October Press, the only printing press in Aden, to print Al-Ayyam. Presented with the order, the printers still refused to do the job, apparently because the interior ministry had instructed them not to. CPJ wrote to the Yemeni government and urged it to allow Al-Ayyam to print without further interference.

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Yemen

January 10, 1995

Abu Bakr al-Saqqaf, Free-lancer ATTACKED
Zain al-Saqqaf, Free-lancer ATTACKED

Abu Bakr al-Saqqaf, a philosophy professor and frequent contributor to opposition newspapers, and Zain al-Saqqaf, former secretary general of the Writers' Union and director of the Institute for Fiscal Analysis, were abducted by armed men, taken blindfolded to a remote site on the outskirts of Sana'a, then beaten up and left by the roadside. Prior to the abduction, the two men attended a friendly gathering at the home of Hisham Bashraheel, editor in chief of the independent weekly Al-Ayyam. His home also serves as the paper's Sana'a office. When they left Bashraheel's home, their car was followed by two unlicensed vehicles, one of which was a military car reportedly belonging to Political Security. When Abu Bakr and Zain arrived at the former's home, five armed men emerged from the two vehicles and forced each of the writers into separate cars. After a short drive, the abductors took them from the cars and beat and kicked them. The armed men abandoned them there, then returned to Abu Bakr's house and stole Zain's car. Both victims were briefly hospitalized. Zain's wrist was broken. The writers believe that their abductors were Political Security agents, due to their clothing and appearance. Abu Bakr and the publishers of Al-Ayyam attribute the attack to a series of articles he wrote that were published in Al-Ayyam, entitled "The Invasion of the South and Domestic Imperialism."

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Yemen

April 5, 1995

Hussein Muhammad Nasser, Al-Jadid IMPRISONED
Fadl Ali Mubarak, 14th of October IMPRISONED
Ali Abdullah Munser, SABA IMPRISONED

Nasser, editor in chief of the now-defunct weekly Al-Jadid and former deputy director of the journalists' syndicate in Abyan province; Mubarak, Abyan correspondent for the Aden-based daily 14th of October; and Munser, Abyan correspondent for the SABA news agency, were detained by political security agents in a roundup of members of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) and other opposition parties. Mubarak had previously spent a month in detention; he was released in early March 1995. CPJ wrote to the Yemeni government asking for a clarification of the reasons behind the arrests. The journalists were released a few days later.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Yemen

July 18, 1995

Al-Shoura CENSORED

Al-Shoura,, organ of the Union of Popular Forces Party (UPFP), was shut down following an armed attack on the UPFP's Sana'a headquarters. The minister of legal affairs and the chairman of the Political Party Affairs Committee sealed the party's offices and suspended Al-Shoura. The minister cited the attack on UPFP headquarters, which he asserted was the result of factional differences within the party, as justification for his action. A Sana'a court later ruled that the suspension was illegal and ordered that the paper be permitted to reopen. However, the authorities have not complied with the court's ruling. CPJ urged the government to allow Al-Shoura to reopen.

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Yemen

July 31, 1995

Ibrahim al-Wazeer, Al-Balagh ATTACKED

Early in the morning, a group of unidentified people began planting explosives at the home of al-Wazeer, publisher of Al-Balagh newspaper. The perpetrators reportedly fled from the house, in an eastern suburb of Sana'a, after they accidentally set off one of the explosive devices. CPJ wrote to the Yemeni government and urged authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the attack.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.


Yemen

December 23, 1995

Abu Bakr al-Saqqaf, Free-Lancer ATTACKED

Al-Saqqaf, a philosophy professor and frequent contributor to opposition newspapers, was attacked by three men who beat him with electric batons. Al-Saqqaf reports that, throughout the assault, the men yelled at him to stop writing. Al-Saqqaf believes that his attackers were agents of the Political Security Office (PSO), noting that two of the men were in uniform. The PSO denies that its men perpetrated the attack. Al-Saqqaf, who suffered broken teeth, contusions on his face and bruises on his arms, was hospitalized.

Send inquiries to CPJ's Middle East Program.



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