DCMF and Al-Jazeera hold Regional Symposium on Professional Media

DCMF and Al-Jazeera hold Regional Symposium on Professional Media

DCMF and Al Jazeera held symposium on Professional Media: freedom of the press and the safety of journalists, to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
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Doha Center for Media Freedom (DCMF) and Al Jazeera Center for Human Rights and Liberties held a regional symposium on professional media on Thursday, November 2nd in Doha to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Representatives from international and local media, press freedom organisations, academics and representatives from civil society organisations participated in the one-day event which was held under the title Professional Media: freedom of the press and the safety of journalists.

“Blockading countries violated media freedom”

Speaking at the opening session of the symposium, Hanan Al Yafee, head of Monitoring and Advocacy at DCMF said that threats facing journalists are becoming more serious and more alarming, and media discourse in the Arab world is increasingly deteriorating.

“Unfortunately, we see today how some media in the Arab region have contributed to the deterioration of the media discourse by promoting misinformation, disseminating hate speech and discrimination. This has contributed to violations committed against journalists and endangered their safety.” Said Al Yafee

“This current Gulf crisis is a good example of the deterioration of media discourse, as we saw how some countries hacked some media outlets and falsified and fabricated news, violating all media values."

Al Yafee said that some countries “went so far as to demand certain media outlets to be shut down, including Al-Jazeera Network and criminalized Sympathy with the State of Qatar in all means and forms of expression.”

She stressed that “the threats facing journalists are becoming more serious and more alarming.” And “reports from various organizations indicate that there has been an increase in the number of violations against journalists and media personnel, such violations include murder, enforced disappearance, and torture.”

Al Yafee said that all these violations are happening “despite the continues campaigns by concerned organisations, increased public awareness and debate on the importance of protecting journalists, and ensuring the rights of media professionals to work in a free and safe environment.”

 “Journalism is not a crime”

Mostefa Souag, Acting Director General of Al-Jazeera Media Network, said that media has suffered a setback this year because of the increasing oppression against journalists and citizens, while the perpetrators are still unpunished.

“We demand serious investigation against those who violate journalists’ rights, the release of detained journalists and compensation for all the victims of crimes against journalists,” said Souag

 “Journalists continue to be killed in many countries in the Arab world and elsewhere, their lives and families are threatened and no one is working to stop these heinous crimes, which aims at depriving citizens of knowledge”

Souag called on representatives of human rights organizations and ambassadors to inform their governments that “journalism is not a crime" and urge them to support the international campaign to end impunity in the crimes against journalists.

He also denounced the demand to shut down Al-Jazeera made by the countries imposing a blockade on the state of Qatar saying that “the blockading countries are in distress, because one of their main demands is to shut down Al-Jazeera, and to stop this professional, free and independent voice, without making any complaint against Al-Jazeera, except the complaints by Egypt, which cannot tolerate any voice that is different from the voice of the ruling authority, and its complaint was nothing but flimsy allegations, because Al-Jazeera has nothing to hide."

“350 journalists killed last year”

On his part, John Yearwood, Executive Board Chairman of International Press Institute (IPI), said that 350 journalists were killed last year, while 120 others are behind bars in Turkey, many of whom are being tried based on fabricated charges, their only crime is working as journalists.

Yearwood demanded the release of detained journalists in Turkey, saying some of these journalists are prosecuted for alleged crimes such as tax evasion and supporting banned groups.

“Journalists are imprisoned because the authorities do not want them to talk.

"Journalism is not a crime, and these journalists should be released immediately." Said Yearwood

Yearwood also called on Egyptian authorities to release Al-Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Husain, who has been detained for over a year in Egypt.

Source: DCMF 

 

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