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Middle East press releases
Year: 2008 | Sort: by country


 Algeria


30 December 2008 - Judicial authorities unearth more libel cases against national daily
23 December 2008 - Three-month jail terms for newspaper editor and reporter
17 November 2008 - Provincial reporter still being harassed two years after leaving newspaper
27 October 2008 - Provincial correspondent gets three-month suspended prison sentence for using leaked documents
16 June 2008 - Withdrawal of accreditation and defamation convictions feed climate of mistrust towards press
5 June 2008 - Three journalists face prison in legal tussle over cartoon
9 May 2008 - Government bans issue of French weekly with article about Algerian region
11 March 2008 - Journalist placed under court’s control in eastern city
5 March 2008 - Call for legislative reform after el watan journalists sent to prison

 Bahrain


3 July 2008 - Press law amendments hailed but journalists still face jail and websites risk closure

 Egypt


19 December 2008 - Two bloggers jailed, a third held incommunicado
26 November 2008 - Two bloggers being detained at secret locations
5 November 2008 - Two years for a blog : that’s enough !
27 October 2008 - TV news agency threatened with closure after arbitrary fine and equipment seizure
7 October 2008 - Newspaper editor spared prison by presidential pardon
30 September 2008 - Editor gets two months in prison, amid no sign of progress in civil liberties three years after Mubarak’s reelection
4 September 2008 - Government offensive against freedom of expression in TV broadcasting
8 July 2008 - Call for withdrawal of charges against newspaper reporter targeted by police vendetta
26 June 2008 - Prisoners of opinion in the shadow of the pyramids
2 June 2008 - Blogger Kareem el-Beheiri freed after 73 days in prison
7 May 2008 - TV agency boss facing charges over food riots says he is being harassed for links with al-Jazeera
24 April 2008 - Release of another blogger held in connection with 6 April protests
22 April 2008 - Mahamed El Sharkawi freed but two other bloggers still held
3 April 2008 - Nilesat drops London-based satellite TV station Al-Hiwar
28 March 2008 - Al Dustour editor sentenced to six months in prison
21 February 2008 - Information minister bans distribution of four foreign newspapers
21 February 2008 - Sad anniversary for Egyptian blogger who was sentenced one year ago
29 January 2008 - Authorities harass Al-Jazeera reporter

 Iran


31 December 2008 - Judicial authorities urged to clarify reasons for leading blogger’s detention
22 December 2008 - Closure of Nobel laureate’s human rights organisation condemned
19 December 2008 - Authorities urged to quash 30-month prison sentence imposed on blogger
18 December 2008 - Imprisoned journalist denied hospital treatment suffers second heart attack
1 December 2008 - Four-year sentence for online journalist who posted dissident ayatollah’s sermon
27 November 2008 - One journalist held incommunicado, a second stabbed
20 November 2008 - Two cyber-dissidents jailed, 5 million websites censored
10 November 2008 - Four journalists facing national security charge are freed on bail
7 November 2008 - Moderate weekly suspended a day after Ayatollah Khamenei threatens media
30 October 2008 - Appeal court upholds 11-year jail term for Kurdish journalist
29 October 2008 - Government continues to harass cyber-feminists in attempt to silence them
21 October 2008 - Imprisoned journalist ends two-week hunger strike
15 October 2008 - Evin is still Middle East’s biggest prison for journalists after Emadoldin Baghi’s release
13 October 2008 - Cyber-journalist arrested in Qom for posting dissident ayatollah’s sermon online
4 September 2008 - Supreme court quashes death sentence against Adnan Hassanpour : Reporters Without Borders calls for his release and dismissal of the case
4 September 2008 - Six-month prison sentences for four cyber-feminists
27 August 2008 - Journalist from the Arab minority sentenced to five years in prison
25 August 2008 - Ailing journalist put in solitary confinement instead of being transferred to hospital
8 August 2008 - Nobel laureate threatened by state news agency allegation
31 July 2008 - Internet censorship stepped up in anticipation of next year’s presidential election
23 July 2008 - Woman journalist held for more than a month without seeing lawyer
9 July 2008 - Five years after the unexplained death of Zahra Kazemi, Reporters Without Borders condemns new inquiry for lack of independence
4 July 2008 - Alarm over bill that would extend death penalty to online crimes
2 July 2008 - Warrant issued for arrest of opposition daily’s editor
26 June 2008 - Government threat to ban Association of Iranian Journalists
24 June 2008 - Kurdish journalist gets 11-year prison sentence, Tehran daily closed for criticising Ahmadinejad
13 June 2008 - Nine women, including five journalists, arrested in latest attempt to intimidate cyber-feminists
11 June 2008 - Two journalists get suspended jail terms for “publicity” against the government
30 May 2008 - Afghan journalist freed after being held for 86 days in Qom
21 May 2008 - Almost 20 websites blocked as online censorship grows
20 May 2008 - Ailing journalist unable to pay bail, held for more than 10 months
13 May 2008 - Jailed journalist Emadoldin Baghi suffers heart attack at Evin prison
6 May 2008 - Authorities urged to halt threats to “cyber-feminists”
30 April 2008 - Blogger Esmail Jafari released
29 April 2008 - Journalist arrested and a weekly suspended
18 April 2008 - Court closes Kurdish weekly for selling copies across border in Iraqi Kurdistan
15 April 2008 - Journalist sent back to prison after heart treatment
8 April 2008 - Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance suspends more newspapers
18 March 2008 - Condemnation of renewed censorship after legislative elections
13 March 2008 - Appeal to future parliament on eve of elections
11 March 2008 - Intelligence services hold Afghan journalist incommunicado in Qom
3 March 2008 - Two journalists freed on bail, two others get prison sentences
26 February 2008 - Website editor arrested in crackdown on Internet two weeks before parliamentary elections
15 February 2008 - Five websites closed down, two women’s rights journalists charged
30 January 2008 - Commission bans leading feminist magazine
23 January 2008 - Nightmare ends for two journalists
4 January 2008 - Year ends badly for press, with Kurdish weekly closed and one-year jail term for reporter in southwest

 Iraq


16 December 2008 - Call for leniency for Muntadar al-Zaidi after shoe throwing protest
10 December 2008 - US military refuses to comply with court order to free Reuters photographer
8 December 2008 - Kurdish president pardons doctor who was jailed for writing about homosexuality
13 November 2008 - Newspaper editor freed after nine days in jail
21 October 2008 - Another interior ministry initiative to protect journalists
11 October 2008 - Young journalist gunned down on Kirkuk street
16 September 2008 - “We won’t let armed groups do as they please,” interior minister tells Reporters Without Borders
14 September 2008 - Four-member TV crew kidnapped and killed in Mosul
3 September 2008 - Call for release of Reuters photographer as arrests of journalists increase
1 September 2008 - Murder attempt against a Kurdish journalist leaves his sister dead in hail of gunfire
25 August 2008 - Joy at release of Associated Press cameraman
5 August 2008 - Call for protective measures after shooting attack on reporter in Kurdistan
1 August 2008 - Reuters cameraman held by US military for past five days on security grounds
22 July 2008 - Journalist gunned down in Kirkuk, investigators urged to work on theory he was killed because of his reporting
4 July 2008 - State-run TV head in Kurdistan kidnapped in ambush and beaten
30 June 2008 - US Army releases journalist after four-days of unexplained detention
19 June 2008 - US Defence Department releases report on fatal shooting of Reuters journalist
17 June 2008 - Journalist murdered outside his home in Mossul, the country’s second most dangerous city for the media
9 June 2008 - Call for release of news agency cameraman held by US forces
4 June 2008 - Public TV cameraman badly hurt in Basra bombing
22 May 2008 - Government’s poor record in combatting impunity condemned after two more journalists killed
15 May 2008 - Government orders closure of radio linked to Moqtada al-Sadr
14 May 2008 - Assaults on journalists rise as two attacked in South
5 May 2008 - Woman journalist shot dead outside her home in Mosul
25 April 2008 - Reporter gunned down in southern town
16 April 2008 - US military free AP photographer Bilal Hussein after holding him for 735 days
14 April 2008 - Robert Gates asked to intervene in US military’s refusal to release AP photographer despite amnesty
14 April 2008 - British journalist freed after being held hostage in Basra for two months
10 April 2008 - Relief at Iraqi judicial panel’s decision opening way for release of AP photographer Bilal Hussein
1 April 2008 - Call for release of journalist on al-Sumariya TV
28 February 2008 - Head of journalists union dies from injuries sustained in shooting attack
14 February 2008 - British reporter employed by CBS is still held by kidnappers, but his Iraqi interpreter is freed
12 February 2008 - CBS journalist and Iraqi interpreter kidnapped from Basra hotel
4 February 2008 - Kurdish journalists face up to fresh challenges
30 January 2008 - Al-Forat TV cameraman killed by roadside bomb
23 January 2008 - Another Iraqi journalist held by US military

 Israel


30 December 2008 - Media involved in several incidents since start of Israeli offensive against Gaza Strip
5 December 2008 - Foreign journalists allowed to enter Gaza Strip for first time in a month
29 September 2008 - Authorities remain silent about imprisonment of Syrian journalist Ata Farahat
21 August 2008 - Letter to Israeli general about decision not to prosecute soldiers who killed Palestinian cameraman
13 August 2008 - Israeli enquiry unsurprisingly decides not to punish soldiers who killed Palestinian cameraman
12 August 2008 - Israeli military to hold Palestinian soundman for six months, without taking him before a court
11 July 2008 - Israeli soldiers close West Bank TV station
1 July 2008 - Anger at harassment of Palestinian journalists at Israel checkpoints
11 June 2008 - Call for EU support for investigation into the death of cameraman Fadel Shanaa
21 April 2008 - Israelis urged to quickly release findings of probe into shelling of Palestinian TV cameraman
16 April 2008 - Reuters cameraman killed in Gaza Strip by Israeli missile
10 April 2008 - Police close pro-peace radio station in Jerusalem, seven employees under house arrest
24 January 2008 - Palestinian snipers fire on Israeli TV crew near Gaza border

 Jordan


3 November 2008 - Newspaper editor freed on bail after being held for five days by state security court

 Kuwait


2 July 2008 - Call for special hearings after upsurge in numbers of journalists facing court
13 March 2008 - Court strips two weekly newspapers of their licences
18 January 2008 - Al-Jazeera sentenced to heavy fine for “defamation”

 Lebanon


12 December 2008 - Tribute to press freedom martyr on third anniversary of murder
27 November 2008 - Journalist seriously injured during a pro-Syrian rally
30 May 2008 - After three years, still no significant progress in Samir Kassir murder investigation
14 May 2008 - Media affiliated to Future Movement back at work after five-day stoppage
9 May 2008 - Hezbollah threats force rival party’s news media to close
23 January 2008 - Newspaper publisher’s car torched in intimidation attempt

 Middle-East


13 February 2008 - Arab League adopts strict rules for satellite TV stations
11 January 2008 - Bush and Sarkozy urged to raise freedom of expression during Middle East tours

 Morocco


3 December 2008 - Another large fine imposed on embattled Arabic-language daily
3 November 2008 - French weekly censored in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria for “attack on Islam”
30 October 2008 - Astronomic damages award against leading Arabic-language daily upheld on appeal
18 September 2008 - Appeal court overturns blogger’s conviction
11 September 2008 - Court releases blogger who criticised king
4 September 2008 - Newspaper editor’s trial for disrespecting king adjourned indefinitely
28 July 2008 - Kurdish freelancer arrested two days after show of Kurdish solidarity with two detained journalists
28 July 2008 - Call for end to jailing of journalists after newspaper reporter is freed
11 July 2008 - Government’s attitude to Al-Jazeera deplored, despite relief that bureau chief not jailed
20 June 2008 - Court orders newspaper to stop publishing testimony about repression under King Hassan
17 June 2008 - Press freedom under attack from all sides, promises not kept
15 June 2008 - Government accused of persecuting Al-Jazeera after it brings charges against bureau chief and withdraws his accreditation
23 May 2008 - Interior minister auxiliaries beat Spanish news photographer outside parliament
7 May 2008 - Al-Jazeera bureau forced to stop broadcasting Maghreb news programme from Rabat
6 May 2008 - Letter to king in support of imprisoned journalist’s royal pardon request
26 March 2008 - Record damages award against editor of Morocco’s leading daily
19 March 2008 - Royal pardon for Internet user, condemned to three years of jail for creating spoof Facebook profile for prince
21 February 2008 - Outrage over court decision returning newspaper journalist to prison

 Palestinian Authority


15 October 2008 - Hamas government reinforces control over Gaza Strip media
9 October 2008 - Conditional release for cameraman working for Hamas TV on West Bank
24 September 2008 - Palestinian TV stations suffer in power struggle between rival factions
29 August 2008 - Arbitrary detention of journalists continues as result of tension between Hamas and Fatah
6 August 2008 - PFLP radio station reopens in Gaza City
31 July 2008 - Release of cameraman employed by German TV station
10 June 2008 - Call for closed news media to be allowed to resume operating amid peace moves between Hamas and Fatah
14 May 2008 - Three journalists arrested in West Bank
16 April 2008 - Reuters cameraman killed in Gaza Strip by Israeli missile
14 March 2008 - Journalists at centre of heated exchanges between Fatah and Hamas
20 February 2008 - Ismail Haniyeh urged to lift ban on newspaper’s distribution in Gaza Strip
4 February 2008 - Hamas frees journalist after holding him for 20 days
16 January 2008 - Two Al-Hayat Al-Jadida journalists held by Hamas

 Qatar


23 June 2008 - Journalist sentenced to three years in prison in absentia

 Saudi Arabia


16 September 2008 - Religious leaders condemned for fatwas declared against journalists
2 September 2008 - European satellite operator Eutelsat drops Saudi opposition TV station
28 April 2008 - Blogger Fouad al Farhan freed after more than four months in prison
9 April 2008 - Authorities asked to say why they have been holding blogger for past four months
1 February 2008 - Information minister bans live programmes on state television
7 January 2008 - Detained blogger is allowed visit by father-in-law

 Syria


15 December 2008 - Appeal court quashes early release for Michel Kilo
9 December 2008 - Authorities continue judicial persecution of jailed cyber-dissident
2 December 2008 - Letter to President Assad about record number of detained journalists and cyber-dissidents
4 November 2008 - Will Michel Kilo be allowed out of Adra prison?
29 October 2008 - Outrage over 36-month prison sentences passed on three journalists
17 October 2008 - Detained cyber-dissident faces up to 15 years in prison
8 October 2008 - Banned in Syria, pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat is latest media to fall victim to tension between Arab regimes
15 September 2008 - Reporters Without Borders team and French TV journalist “will never get a visa,” minister reportedly says after they are refused entry at border
1 September 2008 - Concerned about ailing political prisoner deprived of treatment, Reporters Without Borders urges Sarkozy to raise human rights during Damascus visit
22 August 2008 - Court rejects writer’s request for release on completing three quarters of sentence
18 August 2008 - Lawyer held for 12 days is latest victim of government harassment of opposition websites
5 August 2008 - Call for release of writer accused of “weakening national feeling”
30 June 2008 - Syria sets Arab world record with at least five bloggers and cyber-dissidents detained
24 June 2008 - Independent journalist sentenced for defamation
12 June 2008 - Sarkozy accused of breaking promises after he decides to celebrate 14 July with press freedom predator
3 June 2008 - Youth held for past year because of comments posted online
14 May 2008 - Blogger gets three-year prison sentence for posting article critical of secret services
13 May 2008 - Another call for prominent journalist’s release as he begins third year in prison
9 May 2008 - Call for charges against cyberdissident Habib Saleh to be spelled out
9 April 2008 - Call for release of writer and poet sentenced to four years in prison for criticising government online
25 February 2008 - Blogger to be tried on 17 March for posting critical comments
19 February 2008 - Growing concern about 12 pro-democracy activists held in Damascus crackdown
29 January 2008 - Nothing left of Damascus spring after 10 pro-democracy activists charged
4 January 2008 - Journalist who signed Damascus Declaration held incommunicado

 Tunisia


12 December 2008 - Journalist and human rights lawyer prevented from attending Arab media forum in Beirut
25 November 2008 - Young woman journalist arrested and manhandled while covering student demo
7 November 2008 - Repression continues as Ben Ali marks 21st anniversary as president
28 October 2008 - Court proceedings initiated against editor of independent online magazine
22 October 2008 - Human rights lawyer prevented from going to France to take part in Al-Jazeera programme
26 September 2008 - Human rights activist Tarek Soussi released provisionally
23 September 2008 - Plain-clothes police threaten independent journalist Slim Boukhdir
9 September 2008 - Human rights activist held since giving interview to Al-Jazeera two weeks ago
3 September 2008 - Access to Facebook restored, local newspaper says president intervened
26 August 2008 - Call for action over journalist denied return of ID papers after release from prison
24 August 2008 - Independent journalist again prevented from boarding flight to Europe
20 August 2008 - Government continues to hound online newspaper editor, this time preventing her from taking international flight
21 July 2008 - Reporters Without Borders relieved at release of Slim Boukhdir
2 June 2008 - Prison authorities urged to ensure imprisoned journalist’s safety after he is threatened by fellow inmate
27 May 2008 - Foreign embassies in Tunis asked to help imprisoned journalist’s family
7 May 2008 - Government steps up Internet censorship, blocking access to collaborative news website and filtering email
2 May 2008 - Journalist catches scabies in prison, but cannot shower and denied medicine
29 April 2008 - Sarkozy’s talk of growing freedom in Tunisia condemned as “unacceptable”
24 April 2008 - Threats against journalist’s family, then wife’s car vandalised
3 April 2008 - Highest appeal court upholds one-year sentence for journalist
4 March 2008 - Police detain and beat Sihem Bensedrine and Omar Mestiri
28 February 2008 - Journalist Slim Boukhdir’s health getting steadily worse in Sfax prison
1 February 2008 - Justice ministry asked to improve prison conditions of dissident journalist
18 January 2008 - Journalist’s one-year jail term upheld on appeal in “political decision”

 United Arab Emirates


22 October 2008 - Popular blog accessible again

 Yemen


6 October 2008 - Foreign journalist’s fixer wrongly held in custody
25 September 2008 - Journalist serving six-year sentence released by presidential directive
20 August 2008 - Surveillance of foreign press tightened, two fixers held by security services for past month
10 June 2008 - Authorities urged to think twice after freelance journalist given six-year sentence
10 April 2008 - Ban on weekly newspaper criticised
1 April 2008 - Blog platform Maktoob again accessible
20 March 2008 - Two publications censored, website blocked in latest blows to press freedom
15 February 2008 - Armed attack on independent daily’s office in Sanaa