Middle East & North Africa


Alerts   |   Iraq

Journalist killed in Iraq by unidentified gunmen

New York, February 17, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of freelance journalist Hilal al-Ahmadi, who was gunned down outside his home in Mosul today. 

February 17, 2011 1:59 PM ET


Alerts   |   Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Yemen

Attacks on media continue across Middle East

Libyan pro-government supporters hold posters of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi during a demonstration in Tripoli. (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny)

New York, February 16, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the continued assaults on journalists covering anti-government demonstrations in the Middle East. In recent days, journalists have been obstructed, assaulted, or detained in Libya, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen. Authorities have also slowed down Internet connection and blocked websites, according to local journalists.

Alerts   |   CPJ, Egypt

CPJ alarmed by attack on Lara Logan of CBS News

New York, February 15, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by news that CBS correspondent and CPJ board member Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and beaten in Cairo on Friday while covering rallies marking the resignation of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. "We have seen Lara's compassion at work while helping journalists who have faced brutal aggression while doing their jobs," CPJ Chairman Paul Steiger said. "She is a brilliant, courageous, and committed reporter. Our thoughts are with Lara as she recovers."

February 15, 2011 5:11 PM ET


Alerts   |   Syria

Syrian blogger sentenced to five years in prison

New York, February 15, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the sentencing of blogger Tal al-Mallohi on Monday to five years in prison on state security charges and calls on Syrian authorities to release her immediately. Al-Mallohi, 20, was detained in 2009 and held in extrajudicial detention for close to a year, according to news reports and local press freedom groups.

February 15, 2011 5:00 PM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen

Attacks on the Press 2010: Middle East and North Africa Analysis

Suppression Under the Cover of National Security

A police trooper stands guard on a police vehicle outside a state security court in Sanaa, Yemen. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

By Mohamed Abdel Dayem

Relying on an extensive network of sources in the military, government, and Islamist groups, Yemeni freelance journalist Abdulelah Shaea had become a frequent and pointed critic of the administration's counterterrorism efforts. By July, President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government had enough, dispatching security agents to seize and roughly interrogate Shaea for several hours about his reporting.

Attacks on the Press   |   Egypt

Attacks on the Press 2010: Egypt

Top Developments
• Government blocks satellite TV, news texting ahead of parliamentary vote.
• Political maneuvering seen as critical editor sacked, another jailed.

Key Statistic
12: Satellite television stations taken off the air one month before the election.

Back in 2005, reporters exposed widespread ballot fraud and voter intimidation during the country's first multi-party presidential election. Determined to avoid a repeat of such coverage during the November parliamentary elections, the government blocked satellite television, clamped down on news dissemination techniques, and orchestrated the silencing of critical voices. The ruling National Democratic Party swept the voting amid widespread reports of fraud.

February 15, 2011 12:36 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Iran

Attacks on the Press 2010: Iran

Top Developments
• Authorities sustain their crack- down on critical journalists, arresting dozens.
• Journalists face harsh prison terms and mistreatment in custody.

Key Statistic
34: Journalists imprisoned on December 1. Along with China, Iran is the world's worst jailer of the press.

Defying international condemnation, the government sustained its widespread crackdown on the press, prosecuting journalists arrested in the aftermath of the disputed June 2009 presidential election and detaining additional critical reporters and editors throughout 2010. More than 100 journalists in all had been detained at various times since the crackdown began, CPJ research showed, a campaign of intimidation unparalleled worldwide in more than a decade. The repression came at a time of great global significance that included disputes over Iran's nuclear program and tightening international sanctions.

February 15, 2011 12:31 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Iraq

Attacks on the Press 2010: Iraq

Top Developments
• New press court, politically motivated lawsuits raise alarm.
• As instability festers, five journalists, three support workers are killed.

Key Statistic
$1 billion Damages sought by the Kurdistan Democratic Party from a newspaper that detailed alleged political corruption.

Instability festered throughout the year as political parties wrangled to form a new government after March elections and U.S. troops handed over security to Iraqi forces in August. At least five journalists and three media support workers were killed in relation to their work, reflecting a persistent level of insecurity. Government forces were holding a critical newspaper editor without apparent charge or due process.

February 15, 2011 12:30 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Attacks on the Press 2010: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Top Developments
• In West Bank, Gaza, journalists face obstruction from all sides.
• Israeli fire kills Lebanese reporter during border clash.

Key Statistic
18: Journalists detained when Israeli forces raided a Gaza-bound aid convoy.

The press operated in a highly polarized environment as Israeli, Hamas, and Fatah officials, all intent on controlling international news coverage, subjected journalists to harassment, detentions, censorship, and severe restrictions on their movements. Tensions peaked in June, when Israeli troops stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, which was under an Israeli blockade, killing nine passengers and injuring dozens, detaining numerous accompanying reporters, and seizing journalistic material. Israeli authorities accused the organizers of the convoy of subterfuge, while pro-Palestinian activists attempted to use the episode to highlight what they viewed as repressive Israeli policies toward Gaza residents.

February 15, 2011 12:29 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Lebanon

Attacks on the Press 2010: Lebanon

Top Developments
• Tensions rise, media polarized as U.N. special tribunal closes in on indictments.
• Technology bill includes several provisions that could restrict press freedom.

Key Statistic
0: Arrests made in the murders of two journalists and a bomb attack against a third journalist in 2005.

Political tensions grew sharply in late year as the U.N.-sponsored Special Tribunal for Lebanon drew closer to issuing indictments in the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. In November, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) aired a documentary--based on what it described as tribunal sources and documents--that said investigators had uncovered evidence against members of Hezbollah, the Shiite paramilitary and political group with ties to Iran and Syria. The potential for indictments against Hezbollah members raised fears of sectarian violence and the collapse of a coalition government in which Hezbollah held a strong minority bloc. In November, the tribunal revised its rules on staging trials in absentia, apparently reflecting concerns that it may be unable to secure the arrests of the named suspects.

February 15, 2011 12:26 AM ET


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