Conference focuses on women’s rights, fight against extremism

Women’s rights, extremism and the importance of journalism were addressed at the 15th Arab Media Conference, which began in Amman on Saturday. (Supplied)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Conference focuses on women’s rights, fight against extremism

AMMAN: Women’s rights, extremism and the importance of journalism were addressed at the 15th Arab Media Conference, which began in Amman on Saturday.
The two-day conference, organized by the Arab Media Center, was held under the patronage of Princess Basma bint Talal, honorary chairperson of the Arab Media Women’s Center (AMWC).
During the opening, Jordanian Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah said that the most prominent violation of human rights in the Arab world centers on the right to life itself.
At a time when intolerance and terrorism have increased, he said, “the first right is usually violated, and that is the right to live. We must stand against this violation,” Maaytah said.
“With the new technologies brought upon us, the truth is now harder to portray than ever, and we have witnessed this.”
He said the positive energy between Jordanian and Arab women journalists needed to be enhanced, and women empowered to transform challenges into opportunities to strengthen their positions in the media.
The conference aimed to raise awareness about violations of freedom of expression, and to highlight the work of the media in exceptional circumstances given the conflicts in many Arab countries.
Mahasin Imam, director of the AMWC, said: “We shall never give up, even through pain (in seeking) the truth and facts.”
Nabras Al-Mamouri, president of the Iraqi Women Journalists Forum (IWJF), highlighted the importance of employing the media to promote gender issues, and of women leaders’ efforts individually and collectively to make changes.
The conference was attended by Arab journalists from the UAE, Tunisia, Oman, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, Sudan, Bahrain and Lebanon as well as a number of other countries.
It addressed issues such as social media, different forms of extremism and their impact on Arab societies, and the role of the media in countering extremism.


Turkey remains world’s worst offender against press freedom

Updated 13 December 2018
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Turkey remains world’s worst offender against press freedom

  • A report by the Committee to Protect Journalists said that a near-record number of journalists around the world are behind bars for their work
  • The CPJ said there are dozens of reporters missing or kidnapped in the Middle East and North Africa

Turkey remains the world’s worst offender against press freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Thursday, with at least 68 journalists imprisoned for anti-state charges.

Turkey has previously said its crackdown is justified because of an attempted coup to overthrow the government in 2016.

The report said that a near-record number of journalists around the world are behind bars for their work, including two Reuters reporters whose imprisonment in Myanmar has drawn international criticism.

There were 251 journalists jailed for doing their jobs as of Dec. 1, the CPJ said in an annual study. For the third consecutive year, more than half are in Turkey, China and Egypt, where authorities have accused reporters of anti-governmental activities.

“It looks like a trend now,” the report’s author, Elana Beiser, said in an interview. “It looks like the new normal.”

The number of journalists imprisoned on charges of “false news” rose to 28, up from 21 last year and nine in 2016, according to the CPJ, a U.S.-based nonprofit that promotes press freedom.

The report criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for frequently characterizing negative media coverage as “fake news,” a phrase that is also used by leaders against their critics in countries like the Philippines and Turkey.

In Egypt, at least 25 journalists are in prison. Authorities say this is to limit dissent are directed at militants trying to undermine the state.

Meanwhile, when asked about journalists being jailed, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said: “Legal measures are not taken because of these suspects’ or criminals’ professions. This is unrelated.”

The overall number of jailed journalists is down eight percent from last year’s record high of 272, the CPJ said.

The total does not take into account journalists who have disappeared or are being held by non-state actors. The CPJ said there are dozens of reporters missing or kidnapped in the Middle East and North Africa, including several held by Houthis in Yemen.

(With Reuters)