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Press Freedom in the Arab World

World¹s Press Calls for Press Freedom in Arab World

The World Association of Newspapers has condemned the absence of press freedom in much of the Arab world and has called on governments in North Africa, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf to end their repressive policies and release all imprisoned journalists, bloggers and freedom of expression advocates.

³The hostility toward independent and opposition media and critical voices at large has become alarming and the mechanisms of repression of free expression, either subtle or blatant, are being used by political and religious leaders, law enforcement and the judiciary,² the WAN Board said in a resolution, issued during its meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, on Monday (15 December).

³In most of the region, those who dare to express a dissenting opinion, investigate government failures or wrongdoings, challenge untenable policies and call for reforms, face charges of criminal defamation, blasphemy or endangering national security and are regularly sentenced to hefty fines and imprisonment,² said the resolution, which can be read at http://www.wan-press.org/article17948.html

WAN issued five other resolutions to:

- Condemn the apparent impunity granted by the government of Burkino Faso to the alleged murderer of journalist Norbert Zongo, who was killed ten years ago, and to call on President Blaise Compaoré to ensure that political protection is removed and the killers are brought to justice (read the full resolution at http://www.wan-press.org/article 17949.html )

- Condemn the increasing violence facing journalists in Pakistan, and to call on the government to do its utmost to create a safe environment (http://www.wan-press.org/article17950.html ):

- Call on the Philippine authorities to take measures to end the violence against journalists who report on issues such as crime, corruption, misappropriation of public funds and land disputes (http://www.wan-press.org/article17951.html );

- Call on the ruling junta in Burma to end its crackdown on freedom of expression, and to appeal to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to abandon its discredited policy of non-interference and bring pressure on Burma¹s rulers (http://www.wan-press.org/article17952.html );

- Call on the Cuban leadership to release 26 journalists who were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences and to create an environment where the independent press can develop (http://www.wan-press.org/article17953.html ).

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom and the professional and business interests of newspapers world-wide. Representing 18,000 newspapers, its membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 11 regional and world-wide press groups.

ENDS

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