View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, February 25, 2008

Arab League Plans to Limit Press Freedom

An article by James Robinson in The Observer (24 February 2008) reports that Al-Jazeera claims its freedom to report is threatened by a charter restricting the rights of broadcasters. Its journalists are angry that the Western media (especially CNN and BBC) is keeping quiet on the issue.

The report says: “A document issued earlier this month by the Arab League, which could give its member states the power to close broadcasters who are critical of regimes in the region, marks a new low in the fragile relationship between the network and the governments it reports on.”

The full text can be read at this link:
James Robinson, ‘Al-Jazeera squares up for a fight with Arab League’, The Observer, 24 February 2008.

The curtailing of freedom by Arab States would reverse the trend of openness which has been praised in this last year by the World Press Freedom Index 2007, a matter which is commented on in this report.

The move also appears contrary to a statement issued by the Ruler of Dubai which signaled greater freedom to report within the bounds of an agreed code of journalistic ethics. More can be found on the relationship between the UAE government and UAE journalists at this link.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: Freedom for journalists.