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Journalists on strike after new management attempts to close down leading news website

(IFJ/IFEX) - March 17, 2010 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is backing protests by journalists and the staff of the Cairo-based website who are on strike to protest attempts by the new management to close down the office.

"The website has set standards of independence that are a model for professionalism in Arab journalism," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Its closure would deal a serious blow to the cause of independent media."

The website's workforce, including journalists, went on strike following the announcement of the new Qatari management's plans to shut down the news outlet, which is one of the largest websites in the Arab world with publications in both Arabic and English.

One of the founders is Egyptian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who promoted independent reporting based on the notions of tolerance and openness in debate. Al-Qaradawi now resides in Qatar, the country of the website's new owners. Throughout its ten years' existence, gained a reputation of independent reporting, free from political and religious interference.

The IFJ says all progressive voices should join together to support the staff at IslamOnline in their drive to keep the website operating.

"This dispute comes at a time when the world needs more dialogue and more credible and relevant information," said White. "People who care about democracy and who care about journalism as a public good must speak out to support the journalists of IslamOnline."

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