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International rights commission expresses concern over increased aggression against journalist in the Middle East

The International Commission for the Protection of Journalists has expressed concern over the aggression journalists are being exposed to while covering anti-government demonstrations in the Middle East and has called on the international community not to remain silent in the face of such practices. In a recent statement issued by the commission, it stated that it had been monitoring attacks against journalist in Libya, Bahrain, Iran and Yemen aimed at hindering their activities, humiliating them or confining their movements. According to local newspapers, such attacks are occurring alongside disruptions to internet communication and the blocking of online sites.


The statement asserted that according to news reports, a writer in Libya had been detained and his home raided by security forces who confiscated his personal computer and cellular phone. Similarly, a number of journalists working for an online news agency have been interrogated by security forces.

In Bahrain, authorities have selectively slowed internet communication affecting homes, newspapers and hotels without impacting on government institutions and according to local journalists and activists, some accounts on online sites for sharing video footage have also been disrupted. In addition, a press photographer was interrogated by the interior ministry after taking photographs of wounds sustained by anti-government demonstrators and was later issued with orders not to take anymore photographs.

Incidents of assault against two journalists, a correspondent for a media network and a press photographer in Yemen were also highlighted.

The statement indicated that despite cell phone coverage being restored in Iran, internet communication remains very slow making it difficult to download pictures and video clips of the clashes from the internet and according to news reports, last week, several news sites calling for political reform were intermittently disrupted.

Within this context, the commission's coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa program, Muhammad Abd al-Dayem, said that it was concerning that the image emerging from Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Iran mirrors what happened in Egypt and Tunisia, including the use of violence and resorting to monitoring journalists in order to prevent coverage of the political turmoil. He stressed the necessity that the international community speak up against such deliberate attempts to hinder the media.

Source: Quds Press Service

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