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IFJ launches ethical journalism campaign, calls for release of journalists

(IFJ/IFEX) - 2 October 2009 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) yesterday launched its ethical journalism campaign in Yemen amid calls for the release of three journalists detained in Yemen.

"Freedom of the press remains the corner stone of the ethical journalism campaign," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President, who presided over the launch. "It is about rights and duties of journalists, but it can only develop if the Yemeni authorities stop their crackdown on the press and their stifling of freedom of expression."

The launch ceremony, which was organised jointly with the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate (YJS), an IFJ affiliate, in the capital, San'aa, was also attended by families and supporters of journalists who remain in custody. They are Fuad Rashid, editor of Al Mukkala press website, who was arrested by security forces on 4 May, Salah Al Saqladi, editor of Gulf of Aden news agency, arrested by political security operatives on 18 June, Iyad Ghanim, a trainee journalist who was sentenced to an 18 month jail term for filming a demonstration in early July in the southern Yemenei city of Kersh, and Mohammed al Maqaleh, editor of the opposition Socialist Party's website, Al Eshteraki, who was abducted late last month and has not been seen since.

The IFJ supports the campaign waged by the journalists' families for their immediate release and has backed recent action by Yemeni journalists who staged a sit in at the presidential palace on 24 September to condemn the Government's cloak of secrecy over Al Maqaleh's abduction.

Welcoming the demonstrators, Boumelha added, "We support the determination of families and journalists in Yemen to resist media harassment. Locking up journalists runs counter to Yemen's avowed commitment to democracy. Our colleagues must be set free forthwith."

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