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More joint actions emerge from IFEX GM and GFFE

Following the joint actions reported on in the 3 June "Communiqué", three additional appeals have come out of last week's IFEX General Meeting and the Global Forum on Freedom of Expression in Norway:

THE GAMBIA - One year ago, the court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) passed a judgment in the case of Chief Ebrimah Manneh, a journalist with the "Daily Observer" newspaper who was arrested in July 2006 by agents of the Gambia's infamous National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Jointly, 45 IFEX members, led by the Media Foundation of West Africa, signed a statement demanding that the government take immediate steps to comply with the ECOWAS court decision and release him. Since his arrest in 2006, Manneh has never been seen. The government of the Gambia has consistently denied detaining him.

INTERNATIONAL - Thirty IFEX members, led by Privacy International, signed a resolution condemning the escalating surveillance of journalists as technologies facilitate the ability of governments and corporations across the globe to intercept the phone calls, emails and web activities of media workers. Invasive surveillance practice violates a journalist's basic right to access information by making it difficult to protect the anonymity of sources. In addition to illegal surveillance by governments and companies, new terrorism and cybercrime-fighting laws are used by governments to justify monitoring private correspondence. The member groups called on governments to amend any anti-terrorism and security legislation to allow independent, judicial oversight bodies to ensure ongoing information gathering does not violate fundamental human rights.

YEMEN - A joint action on Yemen's ongoing media crackdown was circulated at a panel during the GFFE called "Cat and Mouse: Online Censorship in the Middle East." During the panel, censorship of Yemeni media was examined. Journalists have been thrown in jail, news websites have been blocked and the government has barred eight newspapers from publishing. Dozens of participants signed a joint letter to President Ali Abdullah Saleh, demanding he lift the suspensions of newspapers and bring those involved in the violations to justice. The appeal followed the release of a similar statement from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), which was signed by 37 Arab human rights organisations. See a previous ARTICLE 19 statement on Yemeni crackdown: and ANHRI's appeal:

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  • Participants at IFEX General Meeting demand action

    Free expression advocates from around the world gathered this week in Oslo, Norway for the General Meeting (GM) of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX). The meeting took place as part of the Global Forum on Free Expression, which brought together more than 500 journalists, activists and writers in Oslo. The following four joint actions were agreed upon by dozens of IFEX member groups. Stay tuned to the IFEX website and next week's communiqué for other joint appeals coming out of the conference.

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