On July 30, NATO warplanes attacked three transmission towers in Libya. The goal apparently was to knock Libyan state television off the air because, NATO alleged, "it was being used as an integral component of the regime apparatus designed to systematically oppress and threaten civilians and to incite attacks against them."
New York, August 3, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by news reports in Iran indicating that furloughed journalists are being summoned back to prison while new journalists continue to be convicted on manufactured charges. Reports of journalists' deteriorating physical and mental health are equally disturbing.
"That the legal rights of accused and imprisoned journalists in Iran are disregarded with regularity has been established beyond a doubt by scores of individual cases documented by CPJ and others," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "Multiple legal analyses have also outlined how the authorities are indifferent to the letter and the spirit of Iranian law in their vindictive pursuit of journalists who are viewed as political adversaries to be silenced or eliminated."
The arrest of Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener in March this year has put press freedom in Turkey under the international spotlight. Authorities said the journalists had not been detained because of their reporting but as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged ultranationalist plot to overthrow the government known as "Ergenekon." On a recent visit to Turkey, I sent written questions to the reporters in their Istanbul jail through their lawyers and they replied in writing.
There's a policeman on duty these days in the lobby of the elegant apartment building that houses Agos and a receptionist behind security glass buzzes you in to the newspaper's cluttered offices. That's about the only indication that the outspoken Turkish-Armenian editor whom I interviewed here in Istanbul in 2006 was assassinated outside the front door a year later.
Two weeks ago, late on a Monday evening, the Israeli parliament passed a controversial law aimed at protecting the country from calls to boycott Israel because of its policies about Palestinians. The law, dubbed the "anti-boycott" law, makes supporting these campaigns a civil offense in the state of Israel. Days after the bill passed, public opinion polls revealed that a majority of Israelis (roughly 52 percent) support the aggressive measure.
Dear Minister Ergin: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of journalists worldwide, is alarmed by the ongoing detention of journalists in Turkey. We are also concerned by the large number of criminal cases opened against reporters under the sweeping provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act.
New York, July 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed to learn that veteran Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin has been summoned to serve a 16-month prison term that was unjustly levied in 2010.
Shamsolvaezin is a journalist, political analyst, deputy chairman of the now-defunct Iranian Journalists Association, and spokesman for the Committee for the Defense of Freedom of the Press. In December 2010, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison on charges of "insulting the president" and "weakening the Islamic Republic regime."
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