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IFJ LAUNCHES REPORT TO "BREAK THE CHAINS" CONFINING MEDIA IN MIDDLE EAST

Sixty-five media workers killed in Iraq in 2007, with little investigation into their deaths. An Arab charter that gives governments control of what satellite channels can broadcast. Up to five years in prison for insulting the President in Egypt or Tunisia. This is what journalists working in the region can expect, says the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in a new report.

Country by country in the Middle East and North Africa, "Breaking the Chains" documents the main laws used to repress the media, as well as cases of journalists who have been sentenced over the past year or are still in jail. Some of the more known prisoners include Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer, who was sentenced to four years in jail in February 2007, and journalist Adnan Hassanpour, who is on death row in Iran for "subverting national security" - a standard excuse to justify the repression of journalists.

The report is part of an IFJ "Breaking the Chains" campaign that is demanding the end of jail terms and extortionate fines that intimidate and silence independent media. Launched in June 2007, the campaign is also helping to build professional solidarity among journalists in the region.

Read "Breaking the Chains" here: http://tinyurl.com/5oortv

(17 June 2008)

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