Sign up for weekly updates

Human rights organisations urge president to lift blockade on newspapers, websites

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, May 23, 2009 - On the occasion of the 19th anniversary of Yemen's Unity Day, Egyptian human rights organizations urged Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to order the Ministry of Information to stop the siege imposed on Yemeni newspapers and remove the ban on blocked Yemeni websites.

It should be noted that because of coverage by a number of newspapers of government forces' treatment of demonstrators in the south, the Yemeni Minister of Information issued a decision to ban the publication of several independent newspapers - Al-Ayam, Al-Share'e, Al-Watani, Al-Mustaqela, Al-Diyar, Al-Nida'a, and Al-Masdar - on the grounds that they had published information "prejudicial to national unity". In this context, the Yemeni authorities also banned the Change Net news website on May 18, 2009.

The Yemeni government, in conjunction with the issuance of this arbitrary decision, has inaugurated a special court for media, which raises concerns about the possibility of further restrictions on press freedom and bans on newspapers. In light of the government's recent actions, the signatory organizations fear the court may be used to continue repressive practices towards press freedom which are contrary to all international conventions that guarantee freedom of expression.

Noting with alarm the drastic impact of confiscating newspapers and blocking news websites within the current climate of instability, the signatory organizations reaffirm their belief that restricting freedom of expression and information and restricting journalists' ability to gain access to areas of conflict, are not the appropriate methods to handle the crisis.

Expressing their full support for the right of Yemeni journalists to exercise their profession in an environment that protects the right of expression, the signatory organizations call on the Yemeni President to abolish the restrictions issued by the Ministry of Information and urge him to give priority to international standards of press freedom and to breathe new life into journalism in Yemen.

Signatories on this statement:

- The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
- Egyptian Child's Rights Centre
- The Association for Human Rights and Legal Aid
- The Civil Observatory Society for Human Rights
- The Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression
- The Awn Society for Human Rights
- The Egyptian Center for Development and Human Rights
- Hemaia Center for Protecting Human Rights Defenders
- Journalists without Rights
- Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies
- The Arab Organization for Supporting Civil Society and Human Rights
- The Dialogue Society for Development and Human Rights
- Hoquqi Association for the Rights of the Disabled
- The National Center for Human Rights
- The Women's Group for Human Rights
- Carmel Association for Digital Media
- Unity Center for Development and Human Rights
- Nadim Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence
- The Egyptian Center for Human Rights
- Habi Centre for Environmental Rights
- The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists
- Shomoo for Human Rights

Latest Tweet:

[email protected]: @seapa Aspiration remains as relevant as ever: A region enjoying free expression and that has a truly ind…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.