Antelias, September 18, 2007
The observation center of media means at the Catholic International Union of the Press in Lebanon (UCIPLIBAN) observed a wave of mass freedom of speech suppression in the Arab countries to prevent conveyance of facts and rights to its citizens, and keep journalists a "big mouth" for the ruling political regimes.
The past weeks witnessed many such incidents. Four Egyptian editors-in-chief were sentenced to one year imprisonment for blaspheming leaders in the ruling party. Another editor-in-chief was hard over to a military court rather than to press affairs court for rumors about the president's state of health. In Saudi Arabia, Al Hayat Daily was banned after criticizing ministries and officials. In Iraq, the press continues to be the target of violence suppression and terrorism for many parties, such as the storming of a radio station in Baghdad.
Similarly, many breaches are taking place against journalists in Palestine, and Hamas has dissolved the journalists syndicate in Gaza, at a time when the Palestinian issue needs them very badly. In most Arab countries, the concept of the press role is confined to serving the political regimes, and most media means are either public or semi-public institutions. However, private media means undergo strict control regulations.
In this context, UCIPLIBAN unites in solidarity with the Arab journalists who are suffering very much.
The Union calls also on all the press and editors syndicates in Lebanon, the Arab world and all educators and intelligentsia to stand with these journalists.
Freedom of press is essential for the Arab civil and democratic societies, and its absence means more retardation and more submission to suppressing tyrannical regimes.
Traduced by: Dr. Saad Atallah